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GRAPHENE FOR BATTERIES

Great news for mobile phones, digital cameras, and laptops, as well as for hand tools and, particularly, hybrid and electric cars. All these items share a major technological innovation: lithium-ion batteries (and supercapacitors, where graphene can display its “storage” capacity at best).

The recent introduction of the lithium-ion technology for batteries allowed an unprecedented development of portable electronic devices, as well as of most professional and non-professional tools, such as drills, screwers, etc., now available in the wireless version.
The automotive market too, increasingly focused on sustainable development, has turned to lithium-ion batteries, used at first in hybrid cars, then in electric-only ones.

Universities and companies involved in the study of these next generation batteries are investing significantly in research and development to overcome the present technological barriers – namely cost, energy and power density, safety, and lifecycle. Nanotechnologies will be used to develop new materials capable to address these needs.

The operation of lithium-ion batteries is based on the migration of lithium ions, which are cyclically extracted and introduced into the electrodes upon recharge and use.

Parallel to ion migration, the host electrode is reduced/oxidized, causing an external electron flow. The storage capacity of a battery and, thus, its energy density, is the result of the amount of lithium-ions that both electrodes can contain reversibly.

Graphite and activated carbon are generally contained in the anodes (negative electrodes) of lithium-ion batteries to store lithium molecules. Introducing graphene nanoparticles into the anodes of batteries could represent a technological innovation capable to enhance battery performance: graphene has a broad surface, by which it can store much more lithium compared to traditional graphite.

The success of electric cars derives first and foremost from their price, of which the battery is the most expensive element.
In view of sustainable development, then, new materials used in batteries should be generally available, as well as cheap.

Thanks to nanotechnologies, lithium-ion batteries will soon ensure such a performance as to compete with internal combustion engines in motor vehicles.

Experts predict that so-called hybrid cars will take a 10 to 15% market share within the next five years.

Electric cars – quiet and environment-friendly – will also be unrivalled in terms of consumption in town.
This will bring about a true revolution, which will allow to reduce polluting emissions, as well as acoustic ones, and thus significantly improve the quality of life in our cities. (contd.)

www.directa-plus.com

Luisa Nicoletti
Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2011


www.directa-plus.com

Luisa Nicoletti
Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

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