Longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries

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Researchers at the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen and the ETH Zurich have developed a simple and cost-effective procedure to significantly enhance the performance of conventional Li-ion rechargeable batteries.

The researchers claim that battery storage capacity will be significantly increased and charging times reduced. The procedure is scalable in size, meaning the use of rechargeable batteries will be optimised in all areas of application.

According to Claire Villevielle, head of the battery materials research group at the PSI, most researchers in the field choose to concentrate on the development of new materials. However, the Swiss researchers chose instead to examine and improve existing components.

By optimising graphite anode on a conventional Lion battery, they were able to improve battery performance.

“We were able to enhance storage capacity by a factor of up to three,” said Juliette Billaud from ETH.

“Owing to their complex construction, commercial batteries will not be able to fully replicate these results but performance will definitely be enhanced, perhaps by as much as 30-50 per cent.”

According to researchers, the development bodes well for industrial implementation, as improving the existing components of the battery design is a simpler and quicker process than implementing a new battery design with new materials.

“If a manufacturer were willing to take on production, enhanced batteries could be ready for the market within one or two years,” said Villevielle.