New Advances at Caltech to Longer-Lasting Lithium Batteries

first_imgScience and Technology New Advances at Caltech to Longer-Lasting Lithium Batteries Lithium-metal batteries could be 50 percent more energy-dense than today’s cells. Caltech’s Julia R. Greer helps to show how serious challenges in engineering them could be overcome. By ANDREW MOSEMAN Published on Thursday, August 6, 2020 | 1:35 pm 83 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Julia R. Greer Credit: CaltechJust about everyone has endured the frustration of their cell phone running out of power before they get a chance to recharge, and although electric cars are growing in popularity, they remain limited by how far they can drive before their battery runs out of juice. Indeed, the energy density of batteries—how much energy they pack in a given mass or volume—has been a major challenge for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy sources.New advances at Caltech may go a long way toward improving things. Researchers working in the lab of Julia R. Greer have made a discovery that could lead to lithium-ion batteries that are both safer and more powerful. Their findings provide guidance for how lithium-ion batteries, one of the most common kinds of rechargeable batteries, can safely hold up to 50 percent more energy.Conventional lithium-ion batteries use graphite to make up the anode, the electrode at which current enters a battery cell. Graphite has been the material of choice for this task for 30 years because it is light, stable, affordable, and can endure the rigors of countless battery cycles. But there are better materials for the job, says Greer, Caltech’s Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering, and Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute—if only some technical challenges can be overcome.“Every power-requiring application would benefit from batteries with lithium instead of graphite anodes because they can power so much more,” she says. “Lithium is lightweight, it doesn’t occupy much space, and it’s tremendously energy dense.”But here is the problem with lithium metal: When a battery is run through many charge–discharge cycles, the lithium naturally forms dendrites, crystals that create a kind of branching tree-like structure. During battery charging, dendrites grow uncontrollably in a lithium-metal cell and can act like tiny wires that short-circuit and kill the battery as they penetrate the system.Researchers have long sought new ways to prevent this growth, Greer says. One possible method is to physically press something against the lithium metal to suppress the dendrites. Whereas typical lithium-ion batteries have a liquid electrolyte—the substance that separates the two battery electrodes and through which the lithium ions move—batteries that use a solid electrolyte could, in theory, apply enough mechanical pressure to hold back the dendrites.Yet in study after study of batteries with solid electrolytes, the dendrites still grew.Greer suspected that the solid electrolytes were not strong enough to resist dendrite growth because researchers had underestimated the strength of dendrites, whose dimensions are at the nanometer scale; they lowballed it because macroscopic lithium is a relatively soft metal comparable to lead and tin. Metals, she says, can be as much as 100 times stronger at a small scale than they are at a larger scale.“If you think of jewelry, like gold or copper, it’s very malleable. You’re able to easily deform it with your own hands,” says Greer, who specializes in studying mechanical properties of materials at the nanoscale. “But when you reduce the dimensions of the same metals, you can get more than an order of magnitude increase in strength.”In 2015, Greer and her colleagues carved tiny pillars of lithium and tested their resilience, and found that they were at least an order of magnitude stronger than had been believed. That experimental setup did not completely reflect the way lithium dendrites behave in a real battery, Greer says. To more accurately emulate this, she and her collaborators, including Greer lab alumnus Michael Citrin and postdoctoral scholar Heng Yang, as well as Simon Nieh from Front Edge Technology, built a battery designed to grow pure lithium dendrites that are very similar to those that would form in batteries. These dendrites, the researchers found, are 24 times stronger than bulk lithium.Julia Greer’s new research demonstrates the remarkable strength of lithium at the nanoscale, where growing “dendrites” can short-circuit or otherwise damage a battery cell. (credit: Julia Greer / Caltech)With that information, researchers now have a better idea of what is required to make a lithium-anode battery work. This represents a major research challenge, Greer says, because polymers and ceramics, the materials commonly used for solid electrolytes, both have drawbacks. Most polymers are too soft to withstand dendrite growth, while ceramics are prone to crack under the pressures exerted by dendrites.With these new findings, scientists have a starting point. “This is as relevant to battery research as it gets, a true manifestation of how much fundamental research is relevant to technological advances,” she says.The research is described in a paper in the journal MRS Bulletin titled, “From Ion to Atom to Dendrite: Formation and Nanomechanical Behavior of Electrodeposited Lithium.” Other authors include Simon K. Nieh of Front Edge Technology, Joel Berry of the University of Pennsylvania and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Wenpei Gao and Xiaoqing Pan of UC Irvine, and David J. Srolovitz of the City University of Hong Kong. The work was funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the U.S. Department of Energy. Community News Subscribe Top of the News Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. HerbeautyA Mental Health Chatbot Which Helps People With DepressionHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThese Are 15 Great Style Tips From Asian WomenHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThis Trend Looks Kind Of Cool!HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyInstall These Measures To Keep Your Household Safe From Covid19HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyBollywood Star Transformations: 10 Year ChallengeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Most Influential Women In HistoryHerbeautyHerbeauty More Cool Stuffcenter_img EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Community News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Business News Make a commentlast_img read more

READ MORE

RI digitalizes trade, investment to spur economy amid pandemic

first_imgThe coronavirus pandemic has prompted Indonesia to digitalize various administrative processes to spur trade and investment amid a slowing economy and with social restrictions in place.For example, Indonesia is allowing Australian exporters to use an electronic certificate of origin in order to claim free trade agreement benefits for its exported products, according to Sally Deane, senior trade commissioner of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).The move is seen as a positive step for the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), which enters into force on July 5. Topics : “Australia and Indonesia were already making progress in this space [regulatory reform], but with COVID-19 we have seen some acceleration of these trends,” Deane said in a virtual discussion on Tuesday.Before the pandemic, Indonesia used electronic quarantine certificates for the trade of agricultural products with Australia, the Netherlands and New Zealand, according to the Indonesian Agriculture Quarantine Agency.Deane said that moving forward, both governments should further utilize digital channels to allow Indonesian and Australian business communities to participate in virtual business matching or product showcases at a time when international travel is restricted.“I think we can look at ways of using digital channels to bring our two business communities together,” Deane added.Under the CEPA agreement, Indonesian exports to Australia will get zero tariffs. Likewise, most of Australia’s exports, including live male cattle, frozen beef, dairy products and sugar, may enter Indonesia without any duties.center_img The Indonesian Trade Ministry expects the export of some Indonesian products to Australia, such as automotive products, timber, textiles, electronics and communication tools, to increase despite recording a US$3.2 billion trade deficit last year.Digitalization has also taken place on the investment front. The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) currently provides an online one-stop service platform, the Online Single Submission (OSS), to process business permit applications. The OSS was created to simplify the administrative process of starting a business in the country.BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia also announced his plan to develop a web-based OSS application that can be managed not only by his office but also by regional administrations.In a hearing with the House of Representative on Tuesday, he proposed a budget of Rp 150 billion ($10.6 million) for software development and hardware distribution to provinces, cities and agencies across the country.“Right now, there are various applications to process permits, especially at the regional level,” Tina Talisa, the agency’s spokeswoman, told The Jakarta Post via text message on Wednesday. “Hence, we see the need to use a single application and integrate the app for the government and regional administrations.”Tina said the application was “one of the agency’s strategies to recover investment in 2021,” as the pandemic forced the agency to revise down this year’s investment target.Total investment realization in the first quarter grew 8 percent year-on-year to Rp 210.7 trillion. However, Indonesia booked an annual decline of 9.2 percent in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the same period, propelled by the coronavirus pandemic, which brought the global economy to a temporary halt.Red tape and unfavorable labor laws for businesses have weighed down Indonesia’s appeal to foreign investors. The country’s ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index has stagnated at 73rd of 190 for the past two years.The incoming partnership may prompt Indonesia to further improve its investment climate, particularly in education, tourism and construction, according to Pingkan Audrine, a researcher at the Center for Indonesian Public Policies think tank, quoting data from the Trade Ministry.last_img read more

READ MORE

South Africa rolls out continent’s first trials for COVID-19 vaccine

first_imgOxford University rolled out Africa’s first human trials for a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus in South Africa on Wednesday, as cases continue to rise and concerns grow over potential access to life-saving treatments.The trial, conducted with local partner University of the Witwatersrand, will consist of 2,000 volunteers from 18 to 65 years of age, including some HIV positive patients, who will be monitored for 12 months after vaccination to asses how well the vaccine guards against COVID-19.”Once 60% of the population, especially the adult population, becomes immune, we expect that effective reproductive rate to go under 1, which basically means the virus will still be around, it will still circulate, but its chain of transmission has been interrupted,” said Shabir Madhi, professor of vaccinology at Wits University and leader of the trial. Hopes are that South Africa’s involvement in vaccine trials will ensure the continent will have access to an affordable vaccine and not be left at the back of the queue.South Africa is the second country outside of the United Kingdom to take part in the Oxford trial after Brazil launched its study on Wednesday. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, also known as AZD1222, was originally developed by Oxford University scientists, who are now working with AstraZeneca on development and production.There are over 4,000 participants enrolled in the UK, with enrollment of an additional 10,000 participants planned, the university said in a statement on Wednesday.A larger study of the same vaccine in up to 30,000 participants is planned in the United States. South Africa, which last month began a phased easing of its coronavirus lockdown, has the highest rate of infections on the continent, with confirmed cases at over 100,000 and deaths at more than 2,000.The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned Africa could be the next epicenter of the pandemic.Trying out a new medical intervention in Africa always rings alarm bells because of a history of big pharmaceutical companies using Africans as guinea pigs.”I feel a little bit scared, but I want to know what is going on with this vaccine so that I can tell my friends and others,” said Junior Mhlongo, a volunteer who received the vaccine at a hospital in Johannesburg.There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments for the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but more than a dozen vaccines from more than 100 candidates globally are being tested in humans.Topics :last_img read more

READ MORE