A team of researchers, including one of Indian-origin, on Tuesday, announced the discovery of a new method to build better performing Lithium-ion batteries that can be charged in a matter of minutes.
Based in New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic, they said that the new research has the potential to improve battery performance for consumer electronics, solar grid storage, and electric vehicles.
A lithium-ion battery charges and discharges as lithium ions move between two electrodes, called anode and cathode. In a traditional lithium-ion battery, the anode is made of graphite and the cathode of lithium cobalt oxide.
Nikhil Koratkar, Professor of mechanical, aerospace and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer, said: “The way to make batteries better is to improve the materials used for electrodes”.
"What we are trying to do is to make lithium-ion technology even better in terms of performance," added Koratkar whose extensive research into nanotechnology and energy storage has placed him among the most highly cited researchers in the world.
The Rensselaer researchers have not only found the reason behind the instability but also developed a new way to combat it. They improved the performance of the lithium-ion battery by substituting cobalt oxide with vanadium disulfide (VS2).
"It gives you higher energy density because it's light and faster-charging capability because it's highly conductive," said Koratkar.
As technology firms scrambled to develop long-lasting powering devices, the excitement surrounding the potential of VS2 had grown in recent years.
Koratkar sees multiple applications for this discovery in improving car batteries, power for portable electronics, and solar energy storage where high capacity is important, but increased charging speed would also be attractive.
Nikhil Koratkar received his B.Tech degree from IIT-Bombay in 1995, followed by MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1998 and 2000. His research interests lie in the development and characterization of advanced nanostructured materials and devices. He has published his work in top journals such as Nature, Nature Materials, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, Applied Physics Letters, etc. He is a recipient of the US National Science Foundation's faculty career development award and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's 'Early Career Award'. He is also an Associate Editor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters journal.
(With agency inputs)