Funding secured for next-gen Li-ion batteries

University of Wollongong

Friday, 17 February, 2017

Zaiping guo

Thanks to a partnership between the University of Wollongong (UOW) and Chinese battery manufacturer Tianneng Battery Group, researchers led by Professor Zaiping Guo (pictured) have secured funding to develop the next generation of high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries.

Tianneng Battery Group will provide $250,000 for the researchers to develop innovative silicon/carbon composite anode materials for use in lithium-ion batteries, offering greater capacity compared to current graphite-based anode materials. Among other things, the batteries have the potential to significantly increase the range of electric cars.

“If we use a current lithium-ion battery for an electric car, the driving range is very limited because the energy density is still relatively low,” said Professor Guo. “By replacing the graphite-based anode with a silicon/carbon anode, we can potentially increase the energy density by 50% — which would significantly increase the driving range of an electric car.”

Aside from electric cars, the batteries have potential use for any devices powered by lithium-ion batteries, including laptop computers and mobile phones.

While there are significant technical challenges to overcome before silicon/carbon composite anodes can be used in commercial batteries, Professor Guo is confident that her team could solve these challenges, having commenced work on the project last year.  

“The first product is showing promising results and we are trying to improve it further,” said Professor Guo. “The amount of batteries we currently produce is still small scale, but I would say in three to five years we are going to be using this battery commercially in electric cars.”

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