Ceramic electrodes make Li-ion batteries safer, more efficient

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Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) have patented a method for making ceramic electrodes that is said to result in more efficient, cheaper, more resistant and safer lithium-ion batteries.

“We have patented new ceramic electrodes that are much safer and can work in a wider temperature range,” said Professor Alejandro Várez from UC3M. “The technique allows flat or tube-shaped electrodes to be created and these can be applied to any type of lithium-ion battery.”

The electrodes consist only of active material, which reduces the risk of degradation and inflammation at temperatures of more than 100°C. “This is especially important in the case of electric vehicles, because if there is an accident and fire, conventional batteries can catch fire, and it is very difficult to extinguish,” said Jean Yves Sanchez, a UC3M CONEX researcher from the Université Grenoble Alpes. “These new solid electrodes can’t burn, which contributes to improving the safety of the batteries.”

One reason why Li-ion batteries can be a fire risk is the electrolytes contain flammable organic liquid solvents. “With our technology, however, solvents are not used during the fabrication process,” said Sanchez. “In addition, if you compare them with conventional electrodes, the electrodes we create are very hard and can’t be cut, which contributes to improving the solidity of the battery.”

Another advantage the electrodes is an increase in battery efficiency. According to the researchers, specific capacity is nearly three times that of batteries using commercial electrodes with the same density. And, as the technique enables high-density electrodes to be created, storage capacity by area can be increased by up to ten times.