Irish scientists can now produce electricity from tears
    Technical issues

    More interesting news from the batteries front – no doubt the result of the incredible amount of research (and research funding) into batteries at the moment.

    Researchers have developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that show exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles.

    A high-current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter demonstrates the material’s promise for use in rapid charge and discharge devices that require high-power density. The capacity of these batteries is enormous, but what is equally remarkable is that they can be charged – from zero charge – to full charge in five minutes, rather than the typical two hours or more needed with other batteries. This according to the scientists at Rice University. Very promising indeed.

    The Tour lab at Rice University previously used a derivative of asphalt—specifically, untreated gilsonite, the same type used for the battery—to capture greenhouse gases from natural gas. This time, the researchers mixed asphalt with conductive graphene nanoribbons and coated the composite with lithium metal through electrochemical deposition. The lab then combined the anode with a sulfurized-carbon cathode to make full batteries for testing. The batteries showed a high-power density of 1,322 watts per kilogram and high-energy density of 943 watt-hours per kilogram.

    Scanning electron microscope images show an anode of asphalt, graphene nanoribbons and lithium at left and the same material without lithium at right. The material shows promise for high-capacity lithium batteries that charge 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice)

    Testing revealed another significant benefit: The carbon mitigated the formation of lithium dendrites. These mossy deposits invade a battery’s electrolyte. If they extend far enough, they short-circuit the anode and cathode and can cause the battery to fail, catch fire, or explode. But the asphalt-derived carbon prevents any dendrite formation.

    This interesting article – in more detail – and research appears in the journal ACS Nano.

    Rice graduate student Tuo Wang is lead author of the paper. Additional coauthors of the paper are from Rice University; the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; and Wuhan University, China.

    The Air Force Office of Scientific Research, EMD-Merck, and Prince Energy supported the research.

    Source: Rice University

    Irish scientists can now produce electricity from tears
    Technical issues
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