New battery tech boosts battery life for electric vehicle

Next-generation binder for lithium-ion batteries. Credit: Noriyoshi Matsumi from JAIST.

Electric cars, bikes, and even planes might soon travel much further on a single charge, thanks to a breakthrough in battery technology from scientists in Japan.

At the heart of this innovation is something quite small but incredibly important: a new kind of binder for lithium-ion batteries, the same type found in everything from smartphones to electric vehicles (EVs).

Batteries work by storing electricity and then releasing it when needed.

To make a battery store more power and release it faster, scientists have been looking at using silicon oxide (SiO) as an anode material – that’s one of the battery’s main parts.

Silicon oxide is exciting because it can hold a lot of electricity and it’s not too expensive.

However, it’s not without its problems. For starters, it doesn’t let electricity flow through it very easily, which can make charging slow. It also tends to swell up a lot when it charges, which can damage the battery over time.

This is where the new binder comes into play. A binder is a substance that holds all the parts of the battery’s anode together, kind of like glue.

The right binder can make a battery more efficient and longer-lasting. Professor Noriyoshi Matsumi and his team from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), along with researchers from Maruzen Petrochemical Company Ltd., have discovered that using poly(vinylphosphonic acid) (PVPA) as the binder with silicon oxide anodes results in batteries that perform much better than those with the binders currently in use.

The team’s research, published in the journal ACS Applied Energy Materials, shows that batteries made with the PVPA binder can hold almost twice as much electricity as those made with more traditional binders after being charged and discharged many times.

They also keep their shape better, avoiding the problem of swelling and damage over time.

What makes PVPA special? It sticks really well to the parts of the battery it’s supposed to hold together, much better than other binders. This strong adhesion means that even when the battery goes through many charge and discharge cycles, it doesn’t fall apart. That’s a big deal for electric vehicles because it means their batteries could last a lot longer before needing to be replaced.

Maruzen Petrochemical Company Ltd., a partner in this research, has even figured out how to produce PVPA on an industrial scale. This means that making batteries with this new binder could soon become a practical option for electric vehicle manufacturers.

The researchers have patented this technology in Japan and internationally, aiming to bring this innovation to batteries worldwide.

This could be a game-changer for electric vehicles, making them more reliable and capable of going longer distances on a single charge. It’s not just cars that could benefit; trains, ships, and even aircraft might use these batteries in the future.

Professor Matsumi is excited about the possibilities: “This could help electric vehicles become more popular by eliminating worries about battery life and performance.”

With advancements like these, the future of travel is looking a lot greener and a lot more efficient.

Source: KSR.