Saturday, September 23, 2023

CSIC project receives 1.9 million euros from the European Union to develop more sustainable and safer batteries

The work of researcher at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) Alexandre Ponroch has been recognized by the European Research Council (ERC) through a ‘Consolidator Grant’ 2022. Endowed with approximately 2 million Euros, this economic support will give researchers 5 years to develop the MultimetalBat project. The aim is to make batteries with metal anodes (electrodes) that are safer, cheaper and more durable to promote electric mobility and energy storage in networks.

“The main objective of the project is to unlock the safe use of metal anodes for next-generation batteries, to achieve uniform and denser electrodeposition of the metal, thus avoiding the typical formation of dendrites (causing short circuits in lithium batteries) deposited) electrodes; improve the cycle life of the battery by stabilizing the interface between the electrode and electrolyte; and gain a better understanding of the mechanism of electrodeposition and the metallurgy of metal anodes,” explains Ponroch.

“The main applications to which the project is directed are e-mobility and network storage, depending on the energy performance and cost of the said batteries. In both cases, avoiding the use of critical raw materials for large-scale use will be the key to this technology,” he added.

importance of electrolyte

Metallic lithium is considered the holy grail of battery anode materials because of its excellent and well-known properties. Currently, compared to lithium-ion technology, batteries based on metal anodes represent the main viable option for making a huge leap forward in terms of energy density. For this reason, the battery community is striving heavily for other types of systems, such as lithium-air batteries, lithium-sulfur batteries, and more recently, solid-state batteries.

Unfortunately, all of these technologies suffer from a tendency to form dendrite and/or mossy structures during the electroporation of lithium. These can pierce the separator or the solid electrolyte between the two electrodes and cause a short circuit in the battery. This phenomenon, in addition to battery failure, can be the first step towards a fire hazard if a flammable electrolyte is used.

To prevent this dendritic growth, a uniform electrodeposition of lithium metal on the electrode is essential, which is highly dependent on the composition and stability of the electrolyte and the nature of its interface with the electrode. However, after several decades of research, it has not been possible to design a battery that can withstand thousands of cycles under actual operating conditions.

Thus, achieving a uniform and dense electrodeposition of the metal is fundamental and holds the promise of unlocking the development of next-generation batteries with significantly higher energy densities than lithium-ion batteries (which also suffer from dendrite formation). , safer, lower cost and more durable.

Main Objective of Multi-metal Anodes: Towards Safe and Energy-Dense Batteries (MultimetalBAT) The project aims to create a new paradigm for metal anodes by developing electrolytes containing multiple cations (Li+, Na+, K+, Ca2+ or Mg2+) that can replace normal modifies. Thermodynamics of electrodeposition in comparison to conventional metal anodes.

About Alexander Poronoch

Alexandre Ponroch received his PhD from the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS-EMT, Canada) in 2010, working on electrodeposition of metals, alloys and oxides in the form of nanotubes and nanowires for application in fuel cells and supercapacitors Is. Currently, he is a Researcher at the Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB, CSIC) of Barcelona. His work primarily focuses on fundamental electrochemistry applied to the development of new electrolytes and interfaces for post-lithium batteries, including sodium-ion, calcium and magnesium, and multication batteries.

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