4 Apr 22

Nanotech discovery doubles EV battery lifespan

Using nanotechnology, scientists have found a new method to more than doublye the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries and increase their energy density, while using fewer materials.

Researchers from the University of Queensland of Australia say the new design enables the batteries to keep their energy density at 80% after 1,000 cycles. 

New coating

The team, led by Professor Lianzhou Wang, has achieved this performance by designing a new coating for the cathode of the lithium-ion battery. Conventional lithium-ion batteries use cobalt to extend the duration of cathodes. While batteries can reach higher densities and higher voltage without cobalt, corrosion limits the use of batteries without this particular element. 

Wang and his team have now designed a cathode material that is super thin at the atomic level. The new coating, without cobalt, reduces corrosion and augments the high-voltage cycling performance of the batteries. The specific material used in the coating is made from lanthanum, nickel, manganese and oxygen. 

Wang said they "designed a uniquely-grown atomic-thin functional layer on the surface of a high-voltage cathode, resulting in a minimal protective coating at a scalable process."

Test performed by the School of Chemical Engineering and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) showed that rechargeable lithium-ion batteries could remain stable even after 1,000 cycles. 

Next: commercialisation

Wang believes producing lithium-ion batteries with a lower cost, higher energy density, and a longer life cycle is vital for decarbonisation goals. He says the new design enables the batteries to be operated at 4.5V, compared to the 3.7V of current batteries. 

The research team plans to present the technology to the EV industry and assess scale-up production with the industry partners. Wang believes lithium-ion batteries with a longer life cycle can be rolled out in two or three years. 

The research was published in Nature Communications

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen