New battery technology developed by UofA researchers

July 5, 2014 | By | 8 Replies More

New battery technology energy output 5 – 8 times higher than lithium ion batteries

The next-generation of battery technology capable of charging faster and lasting longer than today’s standard lithium-ion batteries has been developed by a research team from the University of Alberta.

battery technology

Xinwei Cui holds one of the nano-engineered carbon components of the new battery technology. (Photo: David Dodge).

“What we’ve done is develop a new electrochemistry technology that can provide high energy density and high power density for the next generation,” said lead researcher Xinwei Cui, who completed his PhD in materials engineering at the U of A in 2010 and is now chief technology officer at AdvEn Solutions, a technology development company that is working on the battery so it can be commercially manufactured for use in electronic devices.

The research team developed the new battery technology for energy storage using carbon nanomaterials and a process called induced fluorination.

“We tried lots of different materials. Normally carbon is used as the anode in lithium-ion batteries, but we used carbon as the cathode, and this is used to build a battery with induced fluorination,” Cui explained.

The advantages of using carbon are that it is cost-effective and safe to use, and the energy output is five to eight times higher than lithium-ion batteries currently on the market. The new battery technology also performs better than two other future technologies: lithium-sulfur batteries, currently in the prototype stage, and lithium-air batteries, now under development. For example, the induced-fluorination technology could be used to produce cellphone batteries that would charge faster and last longer.

“Nobody knew that carbon could be used as a cathode with such a high performance. That is what’s unique with our technology and what is detailed in our paper,” Cui said.

The team published their findings in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. The paper was written by Cui; Jian Chen, a researcher in the National Institute for Nanotechnology; Tianfei Wang, a PhD candidate in materials engineering; and Weixing Chen, professor of chemical and materials engineering at the U of A.

“It wasn’t a quick process. Once we found carbon is different, we persisted for three years until we got results,” Cui said.

AdvEn Solutions hopes to have a prototype by the end of 2014 and aims to develop three versions of the battery technology to serve different goals. One battery would have a high power output and a long life cycle, the second would have high energy for quick charging, and the third a super-high energy storage.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track. It’s exciting work and we want everyone to know about it and that it’s very young but promising,” said Cui.

AdvEn is a growing company housed within the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the U of A. It aims to expand by taking on new researchers and gaining more funding. The company recently secured a partnership with the U.S.-based aerospace company Lockheed Martin to develop an advanced anode for AdvEn’s high-performance carbon cathode.

By Nicole Basaraba  

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Category: Business

Comments (8)

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  1. Steven says:

    Just get the batteries to run over 200 miles and see the demise of the ICE cars in the same week

    • Yes exactly. I have been postulating this past year that the epitaph of fossil fuels has already been written.

      Some stats:

      1. Solar accounted for 74% of all new energy to come on line in the US at the end of the 1st quarter 2014.

      2. Solar power has been doubling every 2 years for the past 20 yrs. This trend is expected to continue.

      3. Of all new energy to come online in the world last year 53% was from renewables.

      4. 1/5 of the worlds energy comes from renewable sources.

      5. Texas last year signed a 25 yr power purchase agreement to buy solar power for 5.79c kwh. Cheaper than coal and will be out of the coal business by 2016.

      From solar to the advancements in power storage, and from the new innovation in solid biofuel that we bring to the table: an energy dense, sustainable, renewable biofuel, from abundant non food sources such as manure and municipal solid waste to replace ‘dirty’ coal, I see a future abundant in electricity.

      All necessary steps to shift the world into electric vehicles.

      David Tiessen

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