Improved Lithium-Ion Battery Technology Could Assist EVs in Cold Climates to Travel More on a Single Charge

Improved Lithium-Ion Battery Technology Could Assist EVs in Cold Climates to Travel More on a Single ...

Researchers have developed new lithium-ion batteries that work well at both freezing cold and scorching hot temperatures while storing a lot of energy. The batteries, described in the journal PNAS, may help electric automobiles in cold climates travel farther on a single charge. They may also reduce the need for cooling devices to prevent the batteries from overheating in hot climates.

Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego in the United States developed an electrolyte that is not only versatile and robust over a wide temperature range, but also compatible with a high-energy anode and cathode.

The anode is the electrode where electricity moves into. The cathode is the electrode where electricity flows out.

In areas where the ambient temperature can reach the triple digits, and where the roads become even hotter, high temperature operation is required, according to Zheng Chen, a professor at the University of California San Diego.

Batteries don't warm up just after a current run through during operation. If the batteries cannot tolerate this warmup at high temperature, their performance will quickly deteriorate, according to Chen.

At minus 40 and 50 degrees Celsius, the batteries retained 87.5 percent and 119.5 percent of their energy capacity.

At these temperatures, the batteries also had good Coulombic efficiency of 98.2 percent and 98.7 percent, which means that they may go through more charge and discharge cycles before they stop working.

Due to their electrolyte, which is made of a liquid solution of dibutyl ether mixed with a lithium salt, the batteries are both cold and heat tolerant.

Dibutyl ether's unique feature is that its molecules only bond to lithium ions in a limited quantity. In other words, the electrolyte molecules can easily let go of lithium ions as the battery runs.

Researchers previously demonstrated that this weak molecular interaction improves battery performance at sub-zero temperatures.

According to the researchers, dibutyl ether is quick to absorb the heat because it remains liquid at high temperatures.

What makes this electrolyte so special is that it is also compatible with a lithium-sulfur battery, which is a type of rechargeable battery that has an anode made of lithium metal and a cathode made of sulfur.

According to researchers, lithium-sulfur batteries are an essential part of next-generation battery technologies.

They can store up to two times more energy per kilogram than today's lithium-ion batteries, allowing for an increase in the battery pack's capacity.

Researchers concluded that sulfur is also more abundant and less difficult to obtain than cobalt used in traditional lithium-ion battery cathodes.

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