Lithium is a unique material, and it has a long history of use in batteries.
It is a highly versatile material with many uses in energy storage and energy production.
But while lithium-ion batteries are used for power generation in electric vehicles, it is also widely used in the manufacturing of electronics and other materials.
Lithium and its lithium salts are also used as electrode materials for solar cells.
The new research by researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is the first to investigate the use of lithium as an electrode material for solar cell electrodes, and show that it can be turned into a novel solid state battery.
“Our research indicates that the lithium as the material is not only a very important material in the battery industry, but also an ideal material for lithium-based electrode materials, which can be a promising alternative to conventional battery electrodes,” says Dr Rajesh Kumar, lead author of the paper.
“Lithium-based electrodes could be used for the development of lithium-sulfur-based battery electrodes that are capable of powering a variety of solar energy technologies.
The advantages of lithium over other electrodes in the field are that it is cheap to manufacture, and the use is straightforward, and that the electrode can be manufactured on a large scale, and in an environmentally friendly way,” Kumar adds.
The work is published in the journal Science Advances.
Lithia-sulphur-Based Battery Electrodes: A Case Study, was carried out by Dr Rajash Kumar, Professor of Chemistry, TIFR, Tata Institute for Fundamental Research; Professor of Electrical Engineering, Tata University, New Delhi; and Dr Suman Pandey, Tifr’s Director of the Nanoscience Centre, and a professor in the Department of Electronics, Tata.
Their study was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry for Science and Civil Aviation, Government of India.
The team also received support from Tata Institute, the Indian Research Council (IARC), Tata Chemicals, and Tata Institute.
“The electrode is made from the combination of silicon and lithium, with the latter being a naturally occurring material and therefore it can readily absorb and release lithium ions,” explains Kumar.
“When combined with other materials, the resulting battery can potentially be a more flexible battery, which is of great interest to both the industry and the government,” he adds.
“It can also serve as a solid state material in batteries, and can be combined with a battery as a liquid electrolyte.”
“The lithium ion as an ion is a new material with a new electrical properties.
It has many potential applications in energy conversion, power generation, and electronic devices.
However, in order to develop this novel material for energy storage, we must understand its chemistry and its physical properties,” says Pandey.
The scientists from the TIFr and Tata Chemical labs, together with Dr V. R. Krishnan, were first able to synthesise a novel lithium ion from lithium chloride.
They then synthesised a novel nickel-metal-hydride as an electron donor, which allowed them to use the two materials together.
They combined the two electrodes to synthesize a new solid state lithium-air battery, with which they demonstrated that lithium-Air can be formed in a number of ways.
The battery also demonstrated that the battery can store energy and can discharge energy to an external power source without any degradation of the battery, when the external power is provided by an internal battery.
The research also shows that the new battery can deliver energy and power in a very efficient way.
The researchers also demonstrated how they could use the new electrode material to form a lithium-manganese oxide and magnesium-nitride battery electrodes, which would have great potential in applications in the automotive, industrial, and medical sectors.
The paper has been published in Science Advancing.
This is the second part of a two-part article.
The full article can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S09392270606060022/full.
The article also contains additional information about this research project.