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  • richardmitnick 9:42 pm on August 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Energy storage from a chemistry perspective", A chemical cell design based on 10000 trials., , Battery technology, By the end of the year PolyJoule will have delivered its first 10 kilowatt-hour system exiting stealth mode and adding commercial viability to demonstrated technological superiority., , , It all starts with designing the chemistry around earth-abundant elements which allows the small startup to compete with larger suppliers even at smaller scales., , , PolyJoule isn’t interested in lithium-or metals of any kind-in fact., PolyJoule starts with the periodic table of organic elements and derive what works at economies of scale-what is easy to converge and convert chemically., Traditionally lithium-ion batteries have been the go-to energy storage solution. But lithium has its drawbacks including cost; safety issues; and detrimental effects on the environment.   

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “Energy storage from a chemistry perspective” 

    MIT News

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    August 16, 2021
    Daniel de Wolff

    Eli Paster SM ’10, PhD ’14 is the CEO of PolyJoule, a startup working to reinvent energy storage technology to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

    1
    PolyJoule is a Massachusetts-based startup co-founded by MIT professors Ian Hunter and Tim Swager, that’s looking to reinvent energy storage from a chemistry perspective. Courtesy of PolyJoule.

    The transition toward a more sustainable, environmentally sound electrical grid has driven an upsurge in renewables like solar and wind. But something as simple as cloud cover can cause grid instability, and wind power is inherently unpredictable. This intermittent nature of renewables has invigorated the competitive landscape for energy storage companies looking to enhance power system flexibility while enabling the integration of renewables.

    “Impact is what drives PolyJoule more than anything else,” says CEO Eli Paster. “We see impact from a renewable integration standpoint, from a curtailment standpoint, and also from the standpoint of transitioning from a centralized to a decentralized model of energy-power delivery.”

    PolyJoule is a Billerica, Massachusetts-based startup that’s looking to reinvent energy storage from a chemistry perspective. Co-founders Ian Hunter of MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Tim Swager of the Department of Chemistry are longstanding MIT professors considered luminaries in their respective fields. Meanwhile, the core team is a small but highly skilled collection of chemists, manufacturing specialists, supply chain optimizers, and entrepreneurs, many of whom have called MIT home at one point or another.

    “The ideas that we work on in the lab, you’ll see turned into products three to four years from now, and they will still be innovative and well ahead of the curve when they get to market,” Paster says. “But the concepts come from the foresight of thinking five to 10 years in advance. That’s what we have in our back pocket, thanks to great minds like Ian and Tim.”

    PolyJoule takes a systems-level approach married to high-throughput, analytical electrochemistry that has allowed the company to pinpoint a chemical cell design based on 10,000 trials. The result is a battery that is low-cost, safe, and has a long lifetime. It’s capable of responding to base loads and peak loads in microseconds, allowing the same battery to participate in multiple power markets and deployment use cases.

    In the energy storage sphere, interesting technologies abound, but workable solutions are few and far between. But Paster says PolyJoule has managed to bridge the gap between the lab and the real world by taking industry concerns into account from the beginning. “We’ve taken a slightly contrarian view to all of the other energy storage companies that have come before us that have said, ‘If we build it, they will come.’ Instead, we’ve gone directly to the customer and asked, ‘If you could have a better battery storage platform, what would it look like?’”

    With commercial input feeding into the thought processes behind their technological and commercial deployment, PolyJoule says they’ve designed a battery that is less expensive to make, less expensive to operate, safer, and easier to deploy.

    Traditionally lithium-ion batteries have been the go-to energy storage solution. But lithium has its drawbacks including cost; safety issues; and detrimental effects on the environment. But PolyJoule isn’t interested in lithium-or metals of any kind-in fact. “We start with the periodic table of organic elements,” says Paster, “and from there, we derive what works at economies of scale-what is easy to converge and convert chemically.”

    Having an inherently safer chemistry allows PolyJoule to save on system integration costs, among other things. PolyJoule batteries don’t contain flammable solvents, which means no added expenses related to fire mitigation. Safer chemistry also means ease of storage, and PolyJoule batteries are currently undergoing global safety certification (UL approval) to be allowed indoors and on airplanes. Finally, with high power built into the chemistry, PolyJoule’s cells can be charged and discharged to extremes, without the need for heating or cooling systems.

    “From raw material to product delivery, we examine each step in the value chain with an eye towards reducing costs,” says Paster. It all starts with designing the chemistry around earth-abundant elements which allows the small startup to compete with larger suppliers even at smaller scales. Consider the fact that PolyJoule’s differentiating material cost is less than $1 per kilogram, whereas lithium carbonate sells for $20 per kilogram.

    On the manufacturing side, Paster explains that PolyJoule cuts costs by making their cells in old paper mills and warehouses, employing off-the-shelf equipment previously used for tissue paper or newspaper printing. “We use equipment that has been around for decades because we don’t want to create a cutting-edge technology that requires cutting-edge manufacturing,” he says. “We want to create a cutting-edge technology that can be deployed in industrialized nations and in other nations that can benefit the most from energy storage.”

    PolyJoule’s first customer is an industrial distributed energy consumer with baseline energy consumption that increases by a factor of 10 when the heavy machinery kicks on twice a day. In the early morning and late afternoon, it consumes about 50 kilowatts for 20 minutes to an hour, compared to a baseline rate of 5 kilowatts. It’s an application model that is translatable to a variety of industries. Think wastewater treatment, food processing, and server farms — anything with a fluctuation in power consumption over a 24-hour period.

    By the end of the year PolyJoule will have delivered its first 10 kilowatt-hour system exiting stealth mode and adding commercial viability to demonstrated technological superiority. “What we’re seeing, now is massive amounts of energy storage being added to renewables and grid-edge applications,” says Paster. “We anticipated that by 12-18 months, and now we’re ramping up to catch up with some of the bigger players.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:18 am on July 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The hidden culprit killing lithium-metal batteries from the inside", , Battery technology, Determining cause-of-death for a coin battery is surprisingly difficult., , For decades scientists have tried to make reliable lithium-metal batteries., , , The scientists used a microscope that has a laser to mill through a battery’s outer casing., The separator is completely shredded., The team found a surprising second culprit: a hard buildup formed as a byproduct of the battery’s internal chemical reactions. Every time the battery recharged the byproduct called solid electrolyte, These high-performance storage cells hold 50% more energy than their prolific lithium-ion cousins but higher failure rates and safety problems like fires and explosions., This is what battery researchers have always wanted to see., When the team reviewed images of the batteries’ insides they expected to find needle-shaped deposits of lithium spanning the battery.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) : “The hidden culprit killing lithium-metal batteries from the inside” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US)

    July 14, 2021

    Troy Rummler
    trummle@sandia.gov
    505-249-3632

    First-of-their-kind snapshots reveal byproduct crippling powerful, experimental cells.

    1
    Sandia National Laboratories scientists Katie Harrison, left, and Katie Jungjohann have pioneered a new way to look inside batteries to learn how and why they fail. Photo by Bret Latter.

    For decades scientists have tried to make reliable lithium-metal batteries. These high-performance storage cells hold 50% more energy than their prolific, lithium-ion cousins but higher failure rates and safety problems like fires and explosions have crippled commercialization efforts. Researchers have hypothesized why the devices fail, but direct evidence has been sparse.

    Now, the first nanoscale images ever taken inside intact, lithium-metal coin batteries (also called button cells or watch batteries) challenge prevailing theories and could help make future high-performance batteries, such as for electric vehicles, safer, more powerful and longer lasting.

    “We’re learning that we should be using separator materials tuned for lithium metal,” said battery scientist Katie Harrison, who leads Sandia National Laboratories’ team for improving the performance of lithium-metal batteries.

    Sandia scientists, in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the University of Oregon (US) and DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US), published the images recently in ACS Energy Letters.

    2

    3
    Figure 1. Scanning electron micrographs of intact angled-sections of high-rate cycled Li-metal half cells. (a) Uncycled cell, including: stainless-steel cap, Cu current collector, stack of two Celgard 2325 separators, Li metal, bottom Cu current collector, and lower stainless-steel disc, (b) 1st Li plating, (c) 1st Li stripping, (d) 11th plating, (e) 51st plating, and (f) 101st plating step. White arrows indicate cracks in the SEI matrix and gray regions indicate structures out-of-plane from the cut face.

    3
    Figure 2. Electrochemical performance of the 101st Li plating sample. (a) Capacity of the plating and stripping cycles, for Li plating at a high rate of 1.88 mA/cm2 up to the 101st plating step. (b) Coulombic efficiency of each full cycle, exhibiting the battery’s ability to efficiently recapture Li, even after the quantity of plated Li significantly decreases at ∼75 cycles. Capacity (c) and Coulombic efficiency (d) of the plating and stripping cycles at a low rate of 0.47 mA/cm2 to a capacity of 1.88 mAh/cm2. (e) Scanning electron micrograph of an intact angled-section of the 101st Li plating low-rate cycled half-cell. The brown layer at the top of the image is the stainless-steel cap, and the gray contrast indicates structures out-of-plane from the cut face.

    4
    Figure 3. Scanning electron micrographs of high-rate cycled angled-sections showing failure within two stacked Celgard 2325 separators. (a) Uncycled cell and (b) higher-magnification image of the separator porosity (with the lighter contrast indicating iron redeposition from laser ablation), (c) 1st Li plating, (d) 1st Li stripping, (e) 11th plating, (f) 51st plating, and (g) 101st plating step.

    5
    Figure 4. Schematic short-circuit mechanism for conductive Li pathways through the polymeric separator via SEI formation and subsequent deformation of the separator. SEI formed during the current plating step is colored yellow; SEI that formed in a prior step is colored gray.

    Internal byproduct builds up, kills batteries

    The team repeatedly charged and discharged lithium coin cells with the same high-intensity electric current that electric vehicles need to charge. Some cells went through a few cycles, while others went through more than a hundred cycles. Then, the cells were shipped to Thermo Fisher Scientific in Hillsboro, Oregon, for analysis.

    6
    In this new, false-color image of a lithium-metal test battery produced by Sandia National Laboratories, high-rate charging and recharging red lithium metal greatly distorts the green separator, creating tan reaction byproducts, to the surprise of scientists. Image by Katie Jungjohann.

    When the team reviewed images of the batteries’ insides they expected to find needle-shaped deposits of lithium spanning the battery. Most battery researchers think that a lithium spike forms after repetitive cycling and that it punches through a plastic separator between the anode and the cathode, forming a bridge that causes a short. But lithium is a soft metal, so scientists have not understood how it could get through the separator.

    Harrison’s team found a surprising second culprit: a hard buildup formed as a byproduct of the battery’s internal chemical reactions. Every time the battery recharged the byproduct called solid electrolyte interphase grew. Capping the lithium, it tore holes in the separator, creating openings for metal deposits to spread and form a short. Together, the lithium deposits and the byproduct were much more destructive than previously believed, acting less like a needle and more like a snowplow.

    “The separator is completely shredded,” Harrison said, adding that this mechanism has only been observed under fast charging rates needed for electric vehicle technologies, but not slower charging rates.

    As Sandia scientists think about how to modify separator materials, Harrison says that further research also will be needed to reduce the formation of byproducts.

    Scientists pair lasers with cryogenics to take ‘cool’ images

    Determining cause-of-death for a coin battery is surprisingly difficult. The trouble comes from its stainless-steel casing. The metal shell limits what diagnostics, like X-rays, can see from the outside, while removing parts of the cell for analysis rips apart the battery’s layers and distorts whatever evidence might be inside.

    “We have different tools that can study different components of a battery, but really we haven’t had a tool that can resolve everything in one image,” said Katie Jungjohann, a Sandia nanoscale imaging scientist at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies. The center is a user facility jointly operated by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.

    She and her collaborators used a microscope that has a laser to mill through a battery’s outer casing. They paired it with a sample holder that keeps the cell’s liquid electrolyte frozen at temperatures between minus 148 and minus 184 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 100 and minus 120 degrees Celsius, respectively). The laser creates an opening just large enough for a narrow electron beam to enter and bounce back onto a detector, delivering a high-resolution image of the battery’s internal cross section with enough detail to distinguish the different materials.

    The original demonstration instrument, which was the only such tool in the United States at the time, was built and still resides at a Thermo Fisher Scientific laboratory in Oregon. An updated duplicate now resides at Sandia. The tool will be used broadly across Sandia to help solve many materials and failure-analysis problems.

    “This is what battery researchers have always wanted to see,” Jungjohann said.

    The research was funded by Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and the Department of Energy.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.

    DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International), is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration(US) research and development laboratories in the United States. Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons and high technology. Headquartered in Central New Mexico near the Sandia Mountains, on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Sandia also has a campus in Livermore, California, next to DOE’sLawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US), and a test facility in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii.

    It is Sandia’s mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the United States’ nuclear weapons program’s hazardous waste.

    Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology; mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute); materials science; alternative energy; psychology; MEMS; and cognitive science initiatives.

    Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Red Storm supercomputer, originally known as Thor’s Hammer.


    Sandia is also home to the Z Machine.

    The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear guns. In December 2016, it was announced that National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, under the direction of Honeywell International, would take over the management of Sandia National Laboratories starting on May 1, 2017.


     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on December 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Hard-Carbon Anode Material for Sodium-Ion Batteries Will Solve the Lithium Conundrum", , Battery technology, , Tokyo University of Science (JP)   

    From Tokyo University of Science [東京理科大学] (JP): “New Hard-Carbon Anode Material for Sodium-Ion Batteries Will Solve the Lithium Conundrum” 

    From Tokyo University of Science [東京理科大学] (JP)

    2020.12.14

    New sodium-storing electrode material for rechargeable batteries with unprecedented energy density.

    1
    The higher capacity of this new hard carbon electrode material means that a 19% increase in energy density by weight is possible in sodium-ion batteries compared with lithium-ion batteries. Credit: Shinichi Komaba from Tokyo University of Science.

    Today, most rechargeable batteries are lithium-ion batteries, which are made from relatively scarce elements―this calls for the development of batteries using alternative materials. In a new study, scientists from Tokyo University of Science, Japan, find an energy-efficient method to fabricate a hard carbon electrode with enormously high sodium storage capacity. This could pave the way for next-generation sodium-ion batteries made with inexpensive and abundant materials, and having a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries.

    Cost-effective rechargeable batteries are at the heart of virtually all portable electronic devices, which have become ubiquitous in modern daily life. Moreover, rechargeable batteries are essential components in many environment-friendly technologies, such as electric cars and systems that harvest renewable energy. They are also key enablers of various medical devices and facilitate research in various fields as the energy source of electronic sensors and cameras. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is a lot of effort spent in developing better and cheaper rechargeable batteries.

    So far, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries hold the number-one spot thanks to their great performance across the board in terms of capacity, stability, price, and charging time. However, lithium, and other minor and costly metals like cobalt and copper, are not among the most abundant materials on the earth’s crust, and their ever-increasing demand will soon lead to supply problems around the world. At the Tokyo University of Science, Japan, Professor Shinichi Komaba and colleagues have been striving to find a solution to this worsening conundrum by developing rechargeable batteries using alternative, more abundant materials.

    In a recent study published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the team found an energy efficient method to produce a novel carbon-based material for sodium-ion batteries. Apart from Prof. Komaba, the team also included Ms. Azusa Kamiyama and Associate Prof. Kei Kubota from Tokyo University of Science, Dr. Yong Youn and Dr. Yoshitaka Tateyama from National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, and Associate Prof. Kazuma Gotoh from Okayama University, Japan. The study focused on the synthesis of hard carbon, a highly porous material that serves as the negative electrode of rechargeable batteries, through the use of magnesium oxide (MgO) as an inorganic template of nano-sized pores inside hard carbon.

    The researchers explored a different technique for mixing the ingredients of the MgO template so as to precisely tune the nanostructure of the resulting hard carbon electrode. After multiple experimental and theoretical analyses, they elucidated the optimal fabrication conditions and ingredients to produce hard carbon with a capacity of 478 mAh/g, the highest ever reported in this type of material. Prof. Komaba states, “Until now, the capacity of carbon-based negative electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries was mostly around 300 to 350 mAh/g. Though values near 438 mAh/g have been reported, those materials require heat treatment at extremely high temperatures above 1900°C. In contrast, we employed heat treatment at only 1500°C, a relatively low temperature.” Of course, with lower temperature comes lower energy expenditure, which also means lower cost and less environmental impact.

    The capacity of this newly developed hard carbon electrode material is certainly remarkable, and greatly surpasses that of graphite (372 mAh/g), which is currently used as the negative electrode material in lithium-ion batteries. Moreover, even though a sodium-ion battery with this hard carbon negative electrode would in theory operate at a 0.3-volt lower voltage difference than a standard lithium-ion battery, the higher capacity of the former would lead to a much greater energy density by weight (1600 Wh/kg versus 1430 Wh/kg), resulting in +19% increase of energy density.

    Excited about the results and with his eyes on the future, Prof. Komaba remarks, “Our study proves that it is possible to realize high-energy sodium-ion batteries, overturning the common belief that lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density. The hard carbon with extremely high capacity that we developed has opened a door towards the design of new sodium-storing materials.”

    Further studies will be required to verify that the proposed material actually offers superior lifetime, input-output characteristics, and low temperature operation in actual sodium-ion batteries. With any luck, we might be on the verge of witnessing the next generation of rechargeable batteries!

    See the full article here .

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    Tokyo University of Science [東京理科大学](JP) was founded in 1881 as The Tokyo Academy of Physics by 21 graduates of the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo (then the Imperial University). In 1883, it was renamed the Tokyo College of Science, and in 1949, it attained university status and became the Tokyo University of Science. The leading character appearing in Japanese novelist Soseki Natsume’s novel Botchan graduated from Tokyo University of Science.

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  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on December 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Fikile Brushett is looking for new ways to store energy", , Battery technology, , ,   

    From MIT: “Fikile Brushett is looking for new ways to store energy” 

    MIT News

    From MIT News

    December 1, 2020
    Anne Trafton

    1
    Fikile Brushett, an MIT associate professor of chemical engineering, leads a group dedicated to developing more efficient ways to store energy, including batteries that could be used to store the energy generated by wind and solar power.
    Credit: Jared Charney.

    Fikile Brushett, an MIT associate professor of chemical engineering, had an unusual source of inspiration for his career in the chemical sciences: the character played by Nicolas Cage in the 1996 movie “The Rock.” In the film, Cage portrays an FBI chemist who hunts down a group of rogue U.S. soldiers who have commandeered chemical weapons and taken over the island of Alcatraz.

    “For a really long time, I really wanted to be a chemist and work for the FBI with chemical warfare agents. That was the goal: to be Nick Cage,” recalls Brushett, who first saw the movie as a high school student living in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington.

    Though he did not end up joining the FBI or working with chemical weapons — which he says is probably for the best — Brushett did pursue his love of chemistry. In his lab at MIT, Brushett leads a group dedicated to developing more efficient and sustainable ways to store energy, including batteries that could be used to store the electricity generated by wind and solar power. He is also exploring new ways to convert carbon dioxide to useful fuels.

    “The backbone of our global energy economy is based upon liquid fossil fuels right now, and energy demand is increasing,” he says. “The challenge we’re facing is that carbon emissions are tied very tightly to this increasing energy demand, and carbon emissions are linked to climate volatility, as well as pollution and health effects. To me, this is an incredibly urgent, important, and inspiring problem to go after.”

    “A body of knowledge”

    Brushett’s parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s, before he was born. His mother, an English as a second language teacher, is from South Africa, and his father, an economist, is from the United Kingdom. Brushett grew up mostly in the Washington area, with the exception of four years spent living in Zimbabwe, due to his father’s work at the World Bank.

    Brushett remembers this as an idyllic time, saying, “School ended at 1 p.m., so you almost had the whole afternoon to do sports at school, or you could go home and just play in the garden.”

    His family returned to the Washington area while he was in sixth grade, and in high school, he started to get interested in chemistry, as well as other scientific subjects and math.

    At the University of Pennsylvania, he decided to major in chemical engineering because someone had advised him that if he liked chemistry and math, chemical engineering would be a good fit. While he enjoyed some of his chemical engineering classes, he struggled with others at first.

    “I remember really having a hard time with chemE for a while, and I was fortunate enough to have a really good academic advisor who said, ‘Listen, chemE is hard for some people. Some people get it immediately, for some people it takes a little while for it to sink in,’” he says. Around his junior year, concepts started to fall into place, he recalls. “Rather than looking at courses as self-contained units, the units started coming together and flowing into a body of knowledge. I was able to see the interconnections between courses.”

    While he was originally most interested in molecular biotechnology — the field of engineering proteins and other biological molecules — he ended up working in a reaction engineering lab with his academic advisor, John Vohs. There, he studied how catalytic surfaces influence chemical reactions. At Vohs’ recommendation, he applied to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for graduate school, where he worked on electrochemistry projects. With his PhD advisor, Paul Kenis, he developed microfluidic fuel cells that could run on a variety of different fuels as portable power sources.

    During his third year of graduate school, he began applying for faculty positions and was offered a job at MIT, which he accepted but deferred for two years so he could do a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory. There, he worked with scientists and engineers doing a wide range of research on electrochemical energy storage, and became interested in flow batteries, which is now one of the major focus areas of his lab at MIT.

    Modeling new technology

    Unlike the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power our cell phones and laptops, flow batteries use large tanks of liquid to store energy. Such batteries have traditionally been prohibitively expensive because they rely on pricey electroactive metal salts. Brushett is working on alternative approaches that use less expensive electroactive materials derived from organic compounds.

    Such batteries could be used to store the power intermittently produced by wind turbines and solar panels, making them a more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective source of energy. His lab also works on new processes for converting carbon dioxide, a waste product and greenhouse gas, into useful fuels.

    In a related area of research, Brushett’s lab performs “techno-economic” modeling of potential new technologies, to help them assess what aspects of the technology need the most improvement to make them economically feasible.

    “With techno-economic modeling, we can devise targets for basic science,” he says. “We’re always looking for the rate-limiting step. What is it that’s preventing us from moving forward? In some cases it could be a catalyst, in other cases it could be a membrane. In other cases it could be the architecture for the device.”

    Once those targets are identified, researchers working in those areas have a better idea of what they need to focus on to make a particular technology work, Brushett says.

    “That’s the thing I’ve been most proud of from our research — hopefully opening up or demystifying the field and allowing a more diverse set of researchers to enter and to add value, which I think is important in terms of growing the science and developing new ideas,” he says.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on May 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Battery technology, , Potassium   

    From COSMOS Magazine: “Race for potassium batteries hots up” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS Magazine

    13 May 2019
    Phil Dooley

    Research aims to solve problems arising with potential lithium rival.

    1
    Mounds of potassium waste from a salt mine in the town of Soligorsk, some 140 kilometres south from Minsk, in Belarus. Credit: SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images

    Battery technology based on potassium could be the key to storing energy from renewables, according to a team of scientists from Wollongong University in Australia.

    2

    Currently lithium ion batteries are widely used because of their high energy density, but, because lithium is a relatively rare element, mining costs make them expensive.

    As an alternative, potassium, which is one of the Earth’s most abundant elements, could become the basis for a large-scale power storage, says Zaiping Guo, one of the authors of a review paper in the journal Science Advances.

    “Potassium is a rechargeable with huge potential, and has theoretically cheaper performance compared with lithium,” she says.

    The global market for lithium batteries was worth $25 billion in 2017, driven by technologies that require low-weight energy storage, such as electric cars and electronic devices.

    Potassium batteries are unlikely to reach the same energy density, because it is a heavier atom than lithium. However, it may succeed as a stationary large-scale storage method, coupled to intermittent renewable energy sources.

    “For a more sustainable society we need energy storage devices,” Guo says.

    “Compared with other storage options, such as super-capacitors or fuel cells, batteries are the most mature and easy to apply.”

    Even so, she estimates it will take 10 to 20 years before the potassium-based technology matures enough to close the gap on lithium.

    One of the major obstacles in creating an efficient potassium battery is the sluggish movement of large potassium ions through a solid electrode.

    Secondly, as the ions enter the electrode during the electrical reactions, their size causes the electrodes to swell, then shrink again as the reverse reaction occurs when the battery finishes charging and starts to discharge.

    It’s a challenge to develop an electrode material that can survive such repeated size change, but the team points out that nanotechnology could provide answers.

    Clusters of nanoparticles similar to bunches of grapes can withstand repeated size changes. Nanostructures with high surface areas could also remove the need for the potassium ions to penetrate far in to the electrode: various researchers have investigated [NCBI] structures with large surface areas.

    The structures have names such as nanotubes, nanofibres and even nanoroses.

    To complicate the situation, potassium is prone to other, less welcome reactions, which the nanomaterials can actually promote. However, careful choice of a material for the electrodes can help control these unwanted processes, for example by adding atoms of fluorine, oxygen, boron or sulfur to the carbon mix.

    Unwanted reactions are also a problem in the electrolyte – the conductive solution that allows potassium ions to flow between the two electrodes. For example, the potassium can deposit into intricate tree-shaped crystals called dendrites, which can cause a short-circuit within the battery.

    Guo points out that choice of solvent and use of additives can address these reactions. But it’s a balance, because the most effective solvents are organic, and therefore flammable. Alongside the tendency of potassium batteries to get hot, this is a safety issue that needs consideration.

    The advent of powerful computer modeling will help solve such issues, say the authors. Although there a number of obstacles, they conclude that potassium battery technology is “emerging as a great candidate for large-scale energy storage”.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 3:57 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Battery technology, , , ISS-Inner-Shell Spectroscopy beamline, , Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible, The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II,   

    From BNL: “Scientists Design Promising New Cathode for Sodium-based Batteries” 2017 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 20, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman

    1
    Xiao-Qing Yang (left) and Enyuan Hu (center) of Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department, pictured with beamline physicist Eli Stavitski (right) at the ISS beamline at NSLS-II.

    Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible. Batteries based on plentiful and low-cost sodium are of great interest to both scientists and industry as they could facilitate a more cost-efficient production process for grid-scale energy storage systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles. The discovery was a collaborative effort between researchers at the Institute of Chemistry (IOC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    Lithium batteries are commonly found in consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptop computers, but in recent years, the electric vehicle industry also began using lithium batteries, significantly increasing the demand on existing lithium resources.

    “Just last year, the price of lithium carbonate tripled, because the Chinese electric vehicle market started booming,” said Xiao-Qing Yang, a physicist at the Chemistry Division of Brookhaven Lab and the lead Brookhaven researcher on this study.

    In addition, the development of new electrical grids that incorporate renewable energy sources like wind and solar is also driving the need for new battery chemistries. Because these energy sources are not always available, grid-scale energy storage systems are needed to store the excess energy produced when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

    Scientists have been searching for new battery chemistries using materials that are more readily available than lithium. Sodium is one of the most desirable options for researchers because it exists nearly everywhere and is far less toxic to humans than lithium.

    But sodium poses major challenges when incorporated into a traditional battery design. For example, a typical battery’s cathode is made up of metal and oxygen ions arranged in layers. When exposed to air, the metals in a sodium battery’s cathode can be oxidized, decreasing the performance of the battery or even rendering it completely inactive.

    The researchers at IOC of CAS and Jiangxi Normal University sought to resolve this issue by substituting different types of metals in the cathode and increasing the space between these metals. Then, using the Inner-Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamline at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—Brookhaven’s researchers compared the structures of battery materials with unsubstituted materials to these new battery materials with substitute metals.

    “We use the beamline to determine how metals in the cathode material change oxidation states and how it correlates with the efficiency and lifetime of the battery’s structure,” says Eli Stavitski, a physicist at the ISS beamline.”

    The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II. Here, researchers shine an ultra-bright x-ray beam through materials to observe how light is absorbed or reemitted. These observations allow researchers to study the structure of different materials, including their chemical and electronic states.

    The ISS beamline, which is specifically designed for high-speed experiments, allowed the researchers to measure real-time changes in the battery during the charge-discharge processes. Based on their observations made at the beamline, Brookhaven’s team discovered that oxidation was suppressed in the sodium batteries with substituted metals, indicating the newly designed sodium batteries were stable when exposed to air. This is a major step forward in enabling future mass production of sodium batteries.

    The researchers say this study[JACS] is the first of many that will use the ISS beamline at NSLS-II to advance the study of batteries.

    This study was supported by several Chinese research organizations, including the National Key R&D Program of China. The work at Brookhaven National Laboratory was supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Vehicle Technology Office under Advanced Battery Material Research (BMR). DOE’s Office of Science (BES) also supports operations at NSLS-II.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:20 pm on December 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Battery technology, New lithium-ion battery systems with higher capacities, Researchers Create Next Generation of High-Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries, Silicon is the most promising anode candidate,   

    From UC Riverside: “Researchers Create Next Generation of High-Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    UC Riverside

    December 21, 2017
    Richard Chang
    (951) 827-5893
    rchang@ucr.edu

    1
    Cengiz Ozkan and Mihri Ozkan are developing the next generation of batteries. [Others not named]

    Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have developed a technique to create high performance lithium-ion batteries utilizing sulfur and silicon electrodes. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, while also providing more power with fewer charges to personal electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops.

    The findings were published in an article titled, Advanced Sulfur-Silicon Full Cell Architecture for Lithium Ion Batteries, in the journal, Nature Scientific Reports. Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical and computer engineering, led the project.

    “The demand for renewable energy has pushed the need for higher-performance batteries,” Cengiz Ozkan said.

    As a result, researchers have turned toward new lithium-ion battery systems with higher capacities. Silicon is the most promising anode candidate, storing up to 10 times the capacity of graphite anodes. Sulfur is the most promising cathode candidate, with up to six times the capacity of cathodes. Sulfur-silicon lithium-ion full cells, utilizing silicon as the anode and sulfur as the cathode, are one of the highest-capacity potential systems that have been studied. However, the practice of building sulfur-silicon full cells is challenged by the limitations in materials and equipment.

    “This has limited the amount and extent of research done on the sulfur-silicon full cells, which is why the team proposed and tested a new approach to incorporate lithium into a sulfur-silicon full cell,” Mihri Ozkan said.

    To create the sulfur-silicon full cells (SSFC) with the new architecture, the team added a piece of lithium foil into the traditional full-cell architecture, while enabling contact between the lithium foil and the current collector. This allows the lithium foil to integrate into the system while the battery is being cycled, allowing for control over the amount of lithium inserted.

    “In order to bring together sulfur and silicon electrodes, it is necessary to explore alternative methods of introducing lithium to the system,” said Jeffrey Bell, a UC Riverside graduate student who worked on the project. “We believe that we’ve provided one such solution that will further advance research on sulfur-silicon full cells.”

    “In half cells, pure lithium is used as the anode, which raises safety concerns such as dendrite formation and lithium corrosion. In a full cell, silicon is used as the anode instead, which mitigates the safety issues created by pure lithium anodes, while maintaining the desired high-battery capacity,” added graduate student Rachel Ye.

    This research is the latest in a series of projects led by the Ozkans to create lithium-ion battery materials and architectures from abundant resources and environmentally friendly materials. Previous research has focused on developing and testing anodes from glass bottles, portabella mushrooms, sand, and diatomaceous (fossil-rich) earth.

    In addition to Bell and Ye, other research contributors include graduate students Daisy Patino and Kazi Ahmed. Funding came from UCR and Vantage Advanced Technologies. The university’s Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent application for the inventions.

    See the full article here .

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    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:04 pm on October 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Battery technology, , , , Table salt   

    From Stanford: “A Stanford battery based on sodium may offer more cost-effective storage than lithium” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

    October 9, 2017
    Tom Abate
    tabate@stanford.edu

    1
    Stanford researchers are developing a sodium ion battery based on a compound related to table salt. (Image credit: Getty Images)

    As a warming world moves from fossil fuels toward renewable solar and wind energy, industrial forecasts predict an insatiable need for battery farms to store power and provide electricity when the sky is dark and the air is still. Against that backdrop, Stanford researchers have developed a sodium-based battery that can store the same amount of energy as a state-of-the-art lithium ion, at substantially lower cost.

    Chemical engineer Zhenan Bao and her faculty collaborators, materials scientists Yi Cui and William Chueh, aren’t the first researchers to design a sodium ion battery. But they believe the approach they describe in an Oct. 9 Nature Energy paper has the price and performance characteristics to create a sodium ion battery costing less than 80 percent of a lithium ion battery with the same storage capacity.

    “Nothing may ever surpass lithium in performance,” Bao said. “But lithium is so rare and costly that we need to develop high-performance but low-cost batteries based on abundant elements like sodium.”

    With materials constituting about one-quarter of a battery’s price, the cost of lithium – about $15,000 a ton to mine and refine – looms large. That’s why the Stanford team is basing its battery on widely available sodium-based electrode material that costs just $150 a ton.

    This sodium-based electrode has a chemical makeup common to all salts: It has a positively charged ion – sodium – joined to a negatively charged ion. In table salt, chloride is the positive partner, but in the Stanford battery a sodium ion binds to a compound known as myo-inositol. Unlike the chloride in table salt, myo-inositol is not a household word. But it is a household product, found in baby formula and derived from rice bran or from a liquid byproduct of the process used to mill corn. Crucial to the idea of lowering the cost of battery materials, myo-inositol is an abundant organic compound familiar to industry.

    Making it work

    The sodium salt makes up the cathode, which is the pole of the battery that stores electrons. The battery’s internal chemistry shuttles those electrons toward the anode, which in this case is made up of phosphorous. The more efficiently the cathode shuttles those electrons toward and backward versus the anode, the better the battery works. For this prototype, postdoctoral scholar Min Ah Lee and the Stanford team improved how sodium and myo-inositol enable that electron flow, significantly boosting the performance of this sodium ion battery over previous attempts. The researchers focused mainly on the favorable cost-performance comparisons between their sodium ion battery and state of the art lithium. In the future they’ll have to look at volumetric energy density – how big must a sodium ion battery be to store the same energy as a lithium ion system.

    In addition, the team optimized their battery’s charge-recharge cycle – how efficiently the battery stores electricity coming in from a rooftop solar array, for instance, and how effectively it delivers such stored power to, say, run the house lights at night. To better understand the atomic-level forces at play during this process, postdoctoral scholar Jihyun Hong and graduate student Kipil Lim worked with Chueh and Michael Toney, a scientist with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. They studied precisely how the sodium ions attach and detach from the cathode, an insight that helped improve their overall battery design and performance.

    The Stanford researchers believe their Nature Energy paper demonstrates that sodium-based batteries can be cost-effective alternatives to lithium-based batteries. Having already optimized the cathode and charging cycle, the researchers plan to focus next on tweaking the anode of their sodium ion battery.

    “This is already a good design, but we are confident that it can be improved by further optimizing the phosphorus anode,” said Cui.

    Other members of the team included Stanford researchers Jeffrey Lopez, Yongming Sun and Dawei Feng. The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Battery Materials Research (BMR) Program. X-ray measurements were carried out at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), a national user facility operated by Stanford University on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:40 pm on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Battery technology, ,   

    From BNL: “Slicing Through Materials with a New X-ray Imaging Technique” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 12, 2016
    Chelsea Whyte,
    cwhyte@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8671

    Peter Genzer,
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Images reveal battery materials’ chemical reactions in five dimensions – 3D space plus time and energy

    1
    The chemical phase within the battery evolves as the charging time increases. The cut-away views reveal a change from anisotropic to isotropic phase boundary motion. No image credit

    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a new imaging technique that allows scientists to probe the internal makeup of a battery during charging and discharging using different x-ray energies while rotating the battery cell. The technique produces a three-dimensional chemical map and lets the scientists track chemical reactions in the battery over time in working conditions. Their work is published in the August 12 issue of Nature Communications.

    Getting an accurate image of the activity inside a battery as it charges and discharges is a difficult task. Often even x-ray images don’t provide researchers with enough information about the internal chemical changes in a battery material because two-dimensional images can’t separate out one layer from the next. Imagine taking an x-ray image of a multi-story office building from above. You’d see desks and chairs on top of one another, several floors of office spaces blending into one picture. But it would be difficult to know the exact layout of any one floor, let alone to track where one person moved throughout the day.

    Getting an accurate image of the activity inside a battery as it charges and discharges is a difficult task. Often even x-ray images don’t provide researchers with enough information about the internal chemical changes in a battery material because two-dimensional images can’t separate out one layer from the next. Imagine taking an x-ray image of a multi-story office building from above. You’d see desks and chairs on top of one another, several floors of office spaces blending into one picture. But it would be difficult to know the exact layout of any one floor, let alone to track where one person moved throughout the day.

    “It’s very challenging to carry out in-depth study of in situ energy materials, which requires accurately tracking chemical phase evolution in 3D and correlating it to electrochemical performance,” said Jun Wang, a physicist at the National Synchrotron Light Source II, who led the research.

    Using a working lithium-ion battery, Wang and her team tracked the phase evolution of the lithium iron phosphate within the electrode as the battery charged. They combined tomography (a kind of x-ray imaging technique that displays the 3D structure of an object) with X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectroscopy (which is sensitive to chemical and local electronic changes). The result was a “five dimensional” image of the battery operating: a full three-dimensional image over time and at different x-ray energies.

    To make this chemical map in 3D, they scanned the battery cell at a range of energies that included the “x-ray absorption edge” of the element of interest inside the electrode, rotating the sample a full 180 degrees at each x-ray energy, and repeating this procedure at different stages as the battery was charging. With this method, each three-dimensional pixel—called a voxel—produces a spectrum that is like a chemical-specific “fingerprint” that identifies the chemical and its oxidation state in the position represented by that voxel. Fitting together the fingerprints for all voxels generates a chemical map in 3D.

    The scientists found that, during charging, the lithium iron phosphate transforms into iron phosphate, but not at the same rate throughout the battery. When the battery is in the early stage of charging, this chemical evolution occurs in only certain directions. But as the battery becomes more highly charged, the evolution proceeds in all directions over the entire material.

    “Were these images to have been taken with a standard two-dimensional method, we wouldn’t have been able to see these changes,” Wang said.

    “Our unprecedented ability to directly observe how the phase transformation happens in 3D reveals accurately if there is a new or intermediate phase during the phase transformation process. This method gives us precise insight into what is happening inside the battery electrode and clarifies previous ambiguities about the mechanism of phase transformation,” Wang said.

    Wang said modeling will help the team explore the way the spread of the phase change occurs and how the strain on the materials affects this process.

    This work was completed at the now-closed National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), which housed a transmission x-ray microscope (TXM) developed by Wang using DOE funds made available through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This TXM instrument will be relocated to Brookhaven’s new light source, NSLS-II, which produces x-rays 10,000 times brighter than its predecessor. Both NSLS and NSLS-II are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

    “At NSLS-II, this work can be done incredibly efficiently,” she said. “The stability of the beam lends itself to good tomography, and the flux is so high that we can take images more quickly and catch even faster reactions.”

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 7:57 pm on August 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Battery technology, , ,   

    From SLAC: “Stanford-led team reveals nanoscale secrets of rechargeable batteries” 


    SLAC Lab

    August 4, 2016
    Andrew Myers

    1
    Artist’s rendition shows lithium-ion battery particles under the illumination of a finely focused X-ray beam. (Image credit: Courtesy Chueh Lab)

    An interdisciplinary team has developed a way to track how particles charge and discharge at the nanoscale, an advance that will lead to better batteries for all sorts of mobile applications.

    Better batteries that charge quickly and last a long time are a brass ring for engineers. But despite decades of research and innovation, a fundamental understanding of exactly how batteries work at the smallest of scales has remained elusive.

    In a paper published this week in the journal Science, a team led by William Chueh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and a faculty scientist at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has devised a way to peer as never before into the electrochemical reaction that fuels the most common rechargeable cell in use today: the lithium-ion battery.

    By visualizing the fundamental building blocks of batteries – small particles typically measuring less than 1/100th of a human hair in size – the team members have illuminated a process that is far more complex than once thought. Both the method they developed to observe the battery in real time and their improved understanding of the electrochemistry could have far-reaching implications for battery design, management and beyond.

    “It gives us fundamental insights into how batteries work,” said Jongwoo Lim, a co-lead author of the paper and post-doctoral researcher at the Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences at SLAC. “Previously, most studies investigated the average behavior of the whole battery. Now, we can see and understand how individual battery particles charge and discharge.”

    The heart of a battery

    At the heart of every lithium-ion battery is a simple chemical reaction in which positively charged lithium ions nestle in the lattice-like structure of a crystal electrode as the battery is discharging, receiving negatively charged electrons in the process. In reversing the reaction by removing electrons, the ions are freed and the battery is charged.

    2
    An interdisciplinary research team has developed a new way to track how battery particles charge and discharge. Greatly magnified nanoscale particles are shown here charging (red to green) and discharging (green to red). The animation shows regions of faster and slower charge. (Image credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    These basic processes – known as lithiation (discharge) and delithiation (charge) – are hampered by an electrochemical Achilles heel. Rarely do the ions insert uniformly across the surface of the particles. Instead, certain areas take on more ions, and others fewer. These inconsistencies eventually lead to mechanical stress as areas of the crystal lattice become overburdened with ions and develop tiny fractures, sapping battery performance and shortening battery life.

    “Lithiation and delithiation should be homogenous and uniform,” said Yiyang Li, a doctoral candidate in Chueh’s lab and co-lead author of the paper. “In reality, however, they’re very non-uniform. In our better understanding of the process, this paper lays out a path toward suppressing the phenomenon.”

    For researchers hoping to improve batteries, like Chueh and his team, counteracting these detrimental forces could lead to batteries that charge faster and more fully, lasting much longer than today’s models.

    This study visualizes the charge/discharge reaction in real-time – something scientists refer to as operando – at fine detail and scale. The team utilized brilliant X-rays and cutting-edge microscopes at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source.

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    LBL ALS

    “The phenomenon revealed by this technique, I thought would never be visualized in my lifetime. It’s quite game-changing in the battery field,” said Martin Bazant, a professor of chemical engineering and of mathematics at MIT who led the theoretical aspect of the study.

    Chueh and his team fashioned a transparent battery using the same active materials as ones found in smartphones and electric vehicles. It was designed and fabricated in collaboration with Hummingbird Scientific. It consists of two very thin, transparent silicon nitride “windows.” The battery electrode, made of a single layer of lithium iron phosphate nanoparticles, sits on the membrane inside the gap between the two windows. A salty fluid, known as an electrolyte, flows in the gap to deliver the lithium ions to the nanoparticles.

    “This was a very, very small battery, holding ten billion times less charge than a smartphone battery,” Chueh said. “But it allows us a clear view of what’s happening at the nanoscale.”

    Significant advances

    In their study, the researchers discovered that the charging process (delithiation) is significantly less uniform than discharge (lithiation). Intriguingly, the researchers also found that faster charging improves uniformity, which could lead to new and better battery designs and power management strategies.

    “The improved uniformity lowers the damaging mechanical stress on the electrodes and improves battery cyclability,” Chueh said. “Beyond batteries, this work could have far-reaching impact on many other electrochemical materials.” He pointed to catalysts, memory devices, and so-called smart glass, which transitions from translucent to transparent when electrically charged.

    In addition to the scientific knowledge gained, the other significant advancement from the study is the X-ray microscopy technique itself, which was developed in collaboration with Berkeley Lab Advanced Light Source scientists Young-sang Yu, David Shapiro, and Tolek Tyliszczak. The microscope, which is housed at the Advanced Light Source, could affect energy research across the board by revealing never-before-seen dynamics at the nanoscale.

    “What we’ve learned here is not just how to make a better battery, but offers us a profound new window on the science of electrochemical reactions at the nanoscale,” Bazant said.

    Funding for this work was provided in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and by the Ford-Stanford Alliance. Bazant was a visiting professor at Stanford and was supported by the Global Climate and Energy Project.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

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    SLAC Campus

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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