Canada found that silicon nanoparticles can increase the storage capacity of lithium batteries by 10 times

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There are abundant reserves of silicon. Si and Li can be combined to form a Li4.4Si, with a theoretical specific energy of 4200mAh/g. That is almost 10 times more than the lithium-ion that is absorbed by the widely used lithium batteries. In the present day, silicon materials are used in lithium-ion cells mainly for two reasons. One way is to add nano-silicon to anode materials to create a carbon-silicon anode. To improve the performance, organosilicon compounds can be added to the electrolyte.
The University Alberta created a new generation silicon-based lithium battery

Jillian Biriak and her team at the University of Alberta (Canada) discovered recently that molding silicon in nano-sized particle helps prevent it breaking.
Nano-silicon can be defined as crystalline particles of silicon that have a diameter less than five nanometers. It is a very important non-metal, amorphous substance. Nano silicon powder is non-toxic, odorless, has small particle sizes, uniform distributions, large specific surfaces, high surface activity and low bulk density. Nano-silicon can have a variety of uses: It can be mixed under high pressure with a diamond to produce silicon carbide-diamond materials that can be cut with, or combined with graphite material to form silicon carbon composite materials. The negative electrode material in lithium-ion cells increases their battery capacity.

The team studied and tested four sizes of nanoparticles of silicon to determine which size would maximize its advantages while minimizing the disadvantages. They are evenly dispersed in a highly conductive graphene-carbon aerogel with nanopores that compensates for the low conductivity silicon.

After multiple cycles of charge and discharge, they found that particles as small as one part per meter showed the most stability. This eliminates the limitations of using silicon for lithium-ion cells. This discovery may lead to the development of a battery with ten-times the capacity of existing lithium-ion ones. The research findings were published in the journal Materials Chemistry.

The lithium battery industry’s chain of silicon anode sales worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars

This research can be applied in many fields, including electric vehicles. The batteries will become lighter, travel longer and charge faster. Next step will be to create a method that is faster and cheaper to produce silicon nanoparticles. This will make it easier for industrial production.

Other than new energy vehicles, the need for lithium-ion battery with higher energy and power density is also present in the areas of energy storage and ships. The positive electrode is now made from high-nickel ternary material, while the negative electrode is made of silicon and its Composite material.

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