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New Study Says the Use of Lead-Based Anode in Lithium Batteries Increases the Amount of Storable Energy

Apr, 2021

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Lead is a common material in battery systems along with its availability, familiarity and low cost. Researchers has recently shown how it could be used to create a modern lithium battery anode of much increased storage efficiency.

Lead anodes are widely used in batteries for their ability to carry both positive and negative charges and because [N1] they can be shaped into certain shapes, like a sphere, which makes them easy to handle and shape for storage and application. Graphite is generally the preferred source for lithium battery anodes, and it performs admirably, staying robust over thousands of charging cycles. However, one area that scientists are working on are changes in storage capacity, which lead to hold a lot of promises for a certain group at Argonne National Laboratory. Big lead-oxide particles became mixed with a carbon powder and shook over several hours by the group. This reduces them to microscopic particles trapped in a carbon matrix, which will be encased in a thin lead-oxide shell.

However, lead is commonly used in lead-acid batteries, the earliest form of battery pack, there are well-established supply chains for the metal, and also recycling processes in place. [N2] The team experimented with a lead-based anode to be used in a lithium ion battery due to its availability and low cost, for encouraging initial findings. This new anode material was sorely tested [N3] in battery cells in the facility, demonstrating that it has double the storage capacity of normal graphite anodes across 100 charging cycles while being fully intact. The team was able to boost the battery's performance even further by adding fluoroethylene carbonate to the electrolyte solution that holds the battery's electrical charge.

The project's principal investigator[N4] , Christopher Johnson, said, "Our discovery questions the current understanding of this kind of electrode substance." “Our results have interesting consequences for high-performance anode materials for transportation, creating low-cost and stationary energy storage, including such backup power for the electric grid,” states the researcher.

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