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Yi Cui’s New Silicon Nanotube Batteries Can Get Recharged Up to 6,000 Times


Yi Cui, a Stanford scientist and founder of Amprius, is working on a high-tech lithium ion battery that could last for 6,000 charge and discharge cycles – all without degrading itself below 85 percent. This could bring an end to the headaches that many go through with aging laptop batteries or electric cars which just won’t charge anymore after a while.

Whereas Cui’s battery could last 6,000 cycles of charging and discharging, an average lithium battery in a Mac laptop lasts for about 1,000 cycles before being degraded to hold only about 80% of the charge. This makes Cui’s new battery a phenomenal breakthrough technology.

This latest discovery is making use of silicon oxide shells coating for silicon nanotubes’ anodes (the positive electrode of a battery). Normally, a battery has an electrolytic fluid separating positive and negative polarities at the anode and cathode ends, respectively.

Graphite is the most common compound that makes anodes in batteries, but silicon has a much higher capacity to store a charge. Silicon oxide coating works by stopping the silicon nanotubes from expanding and thus keeps it away from the electrolyte, enabling the battery to have more cycles.

The International Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has embraced this new technology but has stated that the development might not strongly impact the car battery industry.

Amprius has been making high tech developments including having capacity to shrink the conventional carbon anode in batteries by up to four times; thus allowing fourfold increase in energy density.

The company raised a $25 million Series B investment so as to help it step up its plans to release the first commercial product. This was spearheaded by Chinese firms Qiang Neng Fund and IPV Capital, Trident Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Eric Schimdt (Google’s former CEO), VantagePoint Venture Partners, and Stanford University.

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