Novel Materials for Lithium Ion Battery Anodes

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Brian Korgel, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Aaron Chockla, Ph.D. , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Lithium-ion batteries have the highest energy storage and power density of any available rechargeable battery technology. This, combined with their limited self-discharge and no degradative memory effect, means they are widely used to power portable electronic devices. The next generation of portable electronics will require unprecedented light weight, lower cost, and even higher energy density than current technology has achieved. New electrode materials are needed.

Standard Li-ion battery anodes are composed of graphite. Changing this carbon electrode to silicon, for example, would improve energy storage capacity by an order of magnitude and could significantly reduce the weight and cost of the battery.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are exploring the use of silicon and germanium as the anode material for Li-ion batteries. The specific materials developed for this purpose are unique in their form as a nanoscale wire mesh that is synthesized in a slurry process easily scalable to commercial production at low cost. Furthermore, the research team has developed proprietary formulations that have enabled stable silicon anode cycle capacity of more than 2,000 mAh/g with long-term stability.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Higher energy storage than graphite
  • Reduced anode weight by 70%
  • Simple liquid phase processing

Features

  • Low manufacturing cost
  • Scalable to industrial process conditions 

Market potential/applications

BCC Research
reports global PC, tablet, smartphone battery demand to reach $9.5B by 2017, growing at an average rate of 5.2% per year.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 2 U.S. patents application filed