The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and the Council for Scientific Research have found a way to make ceramic electrodes for lithium-ion batteries. These electrodes are not only cheaper, but they are more efficient, resistant, and safer than regular batteries.
An electric battery converts chemical energy to electricity; meanwhile, it uses two electrodes (anode and cathode) to make the ions move and create electricity. This new ceramic electrode that the research group invented can provide a better environment for the use of lithium-ion batteries. Alejandro Varez, inventor of the UC3M Materials Synthesis and Processing research group, said:
“What we have patented are new ceramic electrodes that are much safer and can work in a wider temperature interval. This technique allows making electrodes that are flat or tube-shaped, and these electrodes can be applied to any type of lithium-ion battery.”
Besides the efficiency, the production of this electrode is relatively more affordable too. The research group explained that the current production process can lead to the industrialization of the product.
The ceramic electrodes have active material, which decreases the degradation and inflammation risk in temperatures beyond 100 degrees Celsius. Jean Yves Sanchez, one of the researchers in the invention group, said:
“This is especially important in the case of electric vehicles, because if there is an accident and fire, conventional batteries can catch fire, and it is very difficult to extinguish. These new solid electrodes can’t burn, which contributes to improving the safety of the batteries.”
Normally, when there are extra peaks, a lithium-ion battery overheats and sometimes, even explodes. The reason of this is that lithium-ion battery has organic solvents in its electrolytes that can ignite. Sanchez said:
“With our technology, however, solvents are not used during the fabrication process. In addition, if you compare them with conventional electrodes, the ones we obtain with this fabrication process are very hard and can’t be cut, which contributes to improving the solidity of the battery.”
Another great advantage of this new electrode is the efficiency. According to the research, the efficiency of the battery nearly triples within the same density of a commercial electrode. Additionally, if high-density techniques are used, the storage capacity can increase by ten times of the current technology.
Thanks to the UC3M, the research group was able to get a patent. Varez said:
“The participation of the UC3M Science Park has been key because it has supported us in both the processing and commercialization of the patent.”