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Nanostructured lithium-ion batteries

 

Batteries are a core technology for the transition from fuel-based to electrical mobility. The project explores a new paradigm for battery construction, which promises to substantially lower weight and enhance storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries. The aim is to develop a strategy for the optimisation of existing battery chemistries and for taking them to the physically possible limit in terms of storage capacity per volume and weight.

Project description (ongoing research project)

The main obstacle in the transition away from combustion engines towards electrical mobility is existing battery technology. The energy and power densities of lithium-ion batteries are too low and their cost is too high. Major advances in battery development will have to be made. Lithium-ion secondary batteries are the most likely candidates that will be able to meet the requirements of widespread electrical mobility. Despite the significant advances in battery chemistries, battery assembly has changed only very little during the past 100 years.

Aim

The project sets out to create battery electrode structures that simultaneously optimise lithium storage and the transport of lithium and electrical current to the parts of the electrode that store the lithium ions. These “highways” for the electrolyte and the electrical current call for a branched architecture. The project will therefore develop structured materials that possess a hierarchy of length scales. This requires radically new approaches to improving power-density in real-world batteries and super-capacitors. A strategy is therefore proposed to determine the optimal design for battery electrodes that are bi-continuous on sufficiently large length scales (100 μm – 1 mm) and hierarchically structured down to the 10 nm length scale. This study aims to define the optimal battery structure and develop strategies for a scalable approach to manufacturing a new class of batteries. The proposed research will build on own ongoing activity, but will in particular target the scalability of nanostructured electrodes for batteries and super-capacitors through three areas of activity:

  1. Development of sol-gel based chemistries for cathode and anode materials
  2. 3D printing of battery electrodes
  3. Assembly of pre-manufactured elements

Relevance

Electro-mobility combined with sustainable electricity generation is the most promising way to significantly reduce carbon footprints in the transport sector. The existing lithium-ion batteries are too large, heavy and expensive to store the power that is required to provide the mobility ranges we have become accustomed to. This project proposes to develop a strategy for the optimisation of existing battery chemistries and taking them to the physically possible limit in terms of storage capacity per volume and weight.

Original title

Hierarchically structured materials for super-capacitors and batteries

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Ullrich Steiner, Adolphe Merkle Institute, Université de Fribourg

 

 

Further information on this content

 Contact

Prof. Ullrich Steiner Adolphe Merkle Institute
Université de Fribourg
Chemin des Verdiers 4 1700 Fribourg +41 26 300 95 03 ullrich.steiner@unifr.ch

Products of the project