‘Scientists Can Now Make Lithium-Ion Batteries Last a Lifetime’ *

April 22nd, 2016

* Using gold.


In, ARPA-E Batteries to Challenge Tesla?, I wrote:

If you’re interested in energy generation and storage technologies that will actually be for sale in the near to medium term, you can safely ignore most press releases about new energy technologies working only in labs. That stuff might as well be on a different planet when one considers how far away it is from being ready for end users.

In typical fashion, this applies perfectly to the story below.

All of that said, my guess is that this is still a big deal.

Via: Computer World:

Who says playing around is a waste of time?

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) said that’s exactly what they were doing when they discovered how to increase the tensile strength of nanowires that could be used to make lithium-ion batteries last virtually forever.

Researchers have pursued using nanowires in batteries for years because the filaments, thousands of times thinner than a human hair, are highly conductive and have a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons.

The problem they have encountered, however, is that nanowires are also extremely fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, known as “cycling.” For example, in a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai solved the brittleness conundrum by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and encasing the assembly in an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel. The combination, they said, is reliable and resistant to failure.

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