McGill University researchers show that affordable materials could prove key for improving the batteries used in electric vehicles. The breakthrough was analyzed and confirmed with the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan. The research was funded by NSERC and supported by Hydro-Quebec.
As we move to greener technologies, the need for affordable, safe and powerful batteries is increasing constantly.
Battery-powered electric vehicles, for example, have much higher safety standards than our phones, and to travel the long distances required in Canada, lighter weight, high-energy capacity batteries make a world of difference.
Current rechargeable batteries tend to use expensive non-abundant metals, like cobalt, that carry an environmental and human rights toll under the poor labour conditions in mines in Africa. All are barriers to wider adoption.
The battery’s cathode, or positive electrode, is one of the best candidates for Li-ion battery improvement. “Cathodes represent 40 per cent of the cost of the batteries that we are using in our phones right now. They are absolutely crucial to improve battery performance and reduce dependency on cobalt,” says Rasool.
Read more on the Canadian Light Source website
Image : Lithium ion silicate nanocrystals coated in a conducting polymer known as PEDOT enhance battery performance even after 50 cycles, paving the way for high energy density cathodes.