Scientists unveil fresh lithium battery breakthrough

Energy capacity to greatly increase in future, potentially opening up greater range for e-bikes
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A team of scientists at the US government Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a new component in Lithium-ion batteries that promises greatly increased energy capacity.

The technology, reported by BikeBiz sister site PC Retail recently, could be applied to lithium ion cells used by most modern electric bikes and has the potential to extend the range per charge.

Reporting their findings in the Advanced Materials journal, the Berkeley Lab team tackled the problem of swelling with high-capacity silicon materials used in place of the more usual graphite material.

"Silicon can store ten times more [energy] it has by far the highest capacity among lithium-ion storage materials, but it swells to more than three times its volume when fully charged," said Berkeley Lab's Gao Liu.

The researchers developed a new type of polyfluorene-based conducting polymers which they call PFs for short. The added benefit is that the new anode material is not only superior than traditional materials, but also economical to manufacture.

"The whole manufacturing process is low cost and compatible with established manufacturing technologies. The commercial value of the polymer has already been recognised by major companies, and its possible applications extend beyond silicon anodes." added Liu.

The Berkeley Labs release has much more information and infographics.

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