Next gen battery lasts longer, charges more quickly

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Research undertaken at the University of Alberta is being commercialised in a move that could see the availability of batteries that can be charged more quickly than lithium-ion batteries and which last longer.

The technology is based on an approach called induced fluorination. "We've developed a new electrochemistry technology that can provide high energy density and high power density for the next generation," said lead researcher Xinwei Cui, chief technology officer at AdvEn Solutions, which is commercialising the research. According to the researchers, LiCFx batteries have the highest theoretical energy density of all primary lithium chemistries but these have attracted limited interest because of their non rechargeable nature. However, instead of using carbon materials for lithium ion adsorption and desorption, an electrochemical process is sued to induce fluorination of carbon nanotube array paper cathodes. This is said to result in a dual storage mechanism. "We tried lots of different materials," Cui continued. "Normally, carbon is used as the anode in lithium-ion batteries, but we used carbon as the cathode." The advantages of this approach included a safer battery and up to eight times more energy than lithium-ion batteries. The new battery is also said to perform better than lithium-sulphur and lithium-air batteries. AdvEn Solutions hopes to have a prototype by the end of 2014 and aims to develop three versions of the battery to serve different goals. One battery would have a high power output and a long life cycle, the second would have high energy for quick charging, and the third a super-high energy storage. AdvEn is also working with Lockheed Martin to develop an advanced anode to accompany the carbon cathode.