Imagine a cell a phone that charges in less than an hour and lasts for three to four days or an electric car that runs for hundreds of miles before needing to be plugged in.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are working to make this dream a reality by developing lithium-ion batteries containing silicon-based materials. The most commonly used commercial lithium-ion batteries are graphite-based, but scientists are becoming increasingly interested in silicon because it can store roughly 10 times more lithium than graphite.
“When we talk about batteries, we talk in terms of the amount of energy that can be stored,” said Daniel Abraham, materials scientist in Argonne’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division. “Silicon-based batteries could double or even triple the energy stored in conventional batteries, which would greatly benefit the consumer electronics market and the automotive industry.”
There’s just one problem: current batteries based on silicon materials don’t last long…