Self Healing Battery Electrode Likely to Boost Greater Charge Capacity of Lithium-Ion Battery

The lithium-ion battery market has continued to evolve with emphasis on extremely long life, scalability, low cost/kWh, 100 percent safe high energy density and high efficiency. The lithium-ion battery market has shown huge potential with its use in consumer, industrial, automotive and renewable energy/grid storage applications.

“The market is likely to grow at 23.8 percent compound annually from 2014 to 2020,” said Vishal Sapru, Research Manager, Energy & Environment at Frost & Sullivan. “The applications driving this market include renewable energy/grid storage growing at 57 percent, followed by automotive growing at 36 percent respectively. The consumer and industrial segment will grow at 8 percent and 14 percent respectively.”

A lot of investment is being done to improve the overall performance of a lithium-ion battery. Keeping this in mind, researchers at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a self-healing battery electrode that is likely to provide greater charge capacity in lithium-ion batteries. Silicon has been seen as a potential battery electrode material for quite some time now- its capability of holding large amounts of energy while the battery charges- leads to extend life. The only major concern is that silicon electrodes expand while being charged and contract when electrons are released causing them to stress and crack from this expansion. This concern can be fixed by coating silicon electrodes with this new self-healing polymer. This polymer also cracks like silicon while expanding but broken bonds of polymer attract one another and return back to its original shape. This coating will enable silicone to expand without cracking thus enabling it to store more energy.

This technology seems to be working with smaller charge/discharge cycles but still requires further testing to reach charge discharge cycles required for smart phones and electric vehicles. This could be a disruptive technology which can increase the use of lithium-ion batteries and continue to support its strong demand.