With several territories around the world striving for a future where zero-emission electric cars make the majority of vehicles on the road, battery makers are consistently working to make batteries more energy dense and efficient. Electric vehicles (“EVs”) rely on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for power rather than internal combustion engines (“ICE”), which comes with a set of challenges unique to rechargeable electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops and EVs. For starters, while most electronic devices indicate that they are 100% when fully charged, this usually represents just 70% to 90% of their theoretical energy-holding capacity. The rest is lost even before the batteries leave the factory, meaning electric vehicles are potentially losing out on tons of mileage before they even hit the road.
This energy density is lost during the production process when batteries go through the first charge during the stabilization stage and permanently lose lithium ions. The initial loss of lithium ions during the production period eventually reduces the mileage of EVs, hindering the public and private sector’s efforts to combat range anxiety and boost EV adoption.
Looking to provide a fix for this issue and allow batteries to access 100% of their energy capacity, a team of researchers from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (“KIST”) partnered with other experts and ran a range of experiments. Led by Dr. Minah Lee from the Energy Storage Research Center, Dr. Hyangsoo Jeong from the Center for Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Research and Dr. Jihyun Hong from the Center for Energy Storage Research, the team developed an electrode pretreatment solution with the ability to minimize the initial lithium-ion loss experienced by anodes made of graphite-silicon oxide.
Normally, anodes consist mainly of graphite, but the researchers used a new graphite-silicon oxide (“SiOx”) formulation that has been gaining popularity in the recent past, thanks to its much higher energy density. These graphite-silicon oxide anodes have five to ten times more capacity, and when they are dipped in the electrode pretreatment mixture, the initial lithium-ion loss becomes almost negligible.
However, while SiOx anodes have up to 10 times more energy capacity, a higher ratio of silicon oxide in the formulation corresponds with a spike in the initial Li-ion loss. For instance, increasing the ratio of SiOx in the graphite-SiOx composite electrode to 50% resulted in an initial lithium-ion loss of 40%, so the researchers opted for a 15% SiOx ratio. Consequently, the composite anode showed an initial efficacy of nearly 100% after being exposed to the pretreatment mixture. As a result of the study, battery makers are one step closer to producing lithium-ion batteries with greater capacity, says Lee.
As efforts are invested towards improving battery technology and companies such as Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) look into developing advanced EV charging technologies, the years ahead could unveil a lot of positives in the EV sector.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IDEX
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