10x Better than Lithium-ion Battery in Energy Density – Printable & Flexible

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10 times better than lithium-ion battery

This ‘better than Lithium-ion Battery’ can be the battery of the near future

With the advent of electric vehicles, a surge in the production of Lithium-ion batteries can be seen across the world.

But what if a battery with an energy density 10 times the Lithium-ion battery is on the scene?

A device developed by the scientists at the University of California San Diego offers up to 10 times the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries.

Image Credit: University of California, San Diego

Technology

The technology revolves around a type of battery chemistry called silver-oxide zinc. A promising alternative to lithium-ion based systems, due to its higher energy density and better safety-related characteristics, its widespread adoption however has been majorly restricted due to :

  1. its instability that leads to a limited cycle life.
  2. The need to assemble in a vacuum under sterile conditions to counter high oxidation and chemical instability 

The team at UC San Diego addressed the issue of instability by introducing a new cathode material from ZPower, a Californian company specializing in battery manufacturing. 

Image Credit: zpowerbattery

This cathode uses a coating of lead oxide to enhance the electrochemical stability and conductivity of the battery, in addition to reducing its resistance to an alternative current called impedance.

The researchers have screen printed a silver oxide-zinc battery for the first time ever with this new cathode.

To address the issue of assembling in sterile conditions, the team, through experimentation came up with an ink formulation that made printing of these batteries possible. The battery’s newly developed cathode, zinc anode, separators, and current collectors are screen-printed layer-by-layer onto a chemically stable polymer film, having a high melting point of around 200 °C.

The result – a battery with an areal capacity of 50 milliamps per square centimeter. This is more than 10 times greater than a usual lithium-ion battery and thus can provide 5 to 10 times more power than a same-sized conventional lithium-ion battery. The manufacturing method is also affordable and scalable.

Image Credit: University of California, San Diego

Demonstration

The battery’s potential was demonstrated by the team to power a flexible display system and it:

  1. outperformed lithium-ion coin cells and 
  2. could be recharged 80 times without any significant evidence of capacity loss. 

Applications

It has a number of applications in:

  1. soft robotics, 
  2. wearables and 
  3. other wireless devices

Capabilities offered by these batteries

In addition to their extraordinary energy density, the following capabilities offered by these batteries make them far better than lithium-ion battery-based solutions:

  1. Its flexible nature offers interesting possibilities for powering devices where rigid batteries cannot be deployed.
  2. These batteries can be custom made based on electronics, instead of electronics be designed based on batteries.
  3. Easy manufacturing of flexible batteries is possible with the developed technique.
Image Credit: University of California, San Diego

Better than Lithium-ion battery: Batteries of the future


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