Researches find an approach to boost lithium-ion battery efficiency and also make it safe.

Scientists and Stanford University and the department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have re-engineered lithium-ion batteries by making the heaviest battery components weight 80% less and immediately quench any fires that flare up. 

"The current collector has always been considered dead weight, until now it hasn't been successfully exploited to increase battery performance," said Yi Cui, a professor at SLAC and Stanford and investigator with the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) who headed the research. "But in our study, making the collector 80% lighter increased the energy density of lithium-ion batteries - how much energy they can store in a given weight - by 16-26%. That's a big jump compared to the average 3% increase achieved in recent years."

Researches have been finding a way to reduce weight of current collectors by making them thinner or more porous, but these attempts have had unwanted side effects, said Yusheng Ye, a postdoctoral researcher in Cui's lab who carried out the experiments with visiting scholar Lien-Yang Chou. 

A big advantage of this approach is that the new collector should be easy to manufacture and also cheaper, Cui said.

Culled from STAFF WRITERS. 

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