Hydrogen helps graphene based Li-ion batteries run faster and longer

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the US have found that lithium ion batteries can operate for longer and more quickly when their electrodes are treated with hydrogen.

“The performance improvement we’ve seen in the electrodes is a breakthrough that has real world applications,” said Jianchao Ye, pictured, staff scientist in LLNL’s Materials Science Division.

According to the team, several key characteristics of lithium ion batteries, such as capacity, voltage and energy density, are determined by the binding between lithium ions and the electrode material. In their experiments, the researchers discovered that hydrogen treated graphene nanofoam electrodes show higher capacity and faster transport.

The team says the chemical synthesis methods used to create such batteries often leave behind significant amounts of atomic hydrogen. It found that by treating defect rich graphene with hydrogen at low temperatures, rate capacity could be improved. In the process, hydrogen interacts with defects in the graphene structure, opening small gaps that allow lithium ions to penetrate more easily.