Every now and then, you stumble across a word. Unfamiliar with what it is, you do a bit of research on it. 27 tabs opened later, you realize you still don’t completely grasp exactly what it is you’ve spent nearly almost 2 Sundays pouring over.
Well this one is one of those words, ‘Lithium metal batteries’. You’ve probably skimmed over it within your research and maybe even questioned if it is even worth your time to devote any more time and energy on the subject. Even hearing the word now may be exhausting, but don’t let the fatigue get to you. It took many searches to get here, and it’s about time you reap the fruits of your labors. So sit back, be energized, and feel recharged.
Lithium metal batteries isn’t some industry buzzword, but it is a word that signifies the future of where the next battery innovation will come from. I’m positive about that.
Well to give you some background, from power grid applications to hybrid and electric vehicles to consumer electronic devices, the demand for improvements in energy storage performance, efficiency and price has continued to outpace technological innovation and what the market is able to provide. At this time, there are several critical factors in rechargeable battery design and performance, but energy density has been the key limiting factor for enabling portable devices and plug-in electric vehicles.
As of now, lithium ion batteries (LIB) now play the central role in addressing these energy storage needs. However, LIB energy densities will soon reach their practical limit and will continue to struggle to keep up with consumer expectations and market demand.
This is where lithium metal batteries come into play. Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) have long been recognized as a desirable alternative to traditional lithium ion batteries (LIBs). While LIBs typically rely on intercalation of lithium ions to/from a graphite anode, LMBs utilize lithium metal for the anode itself. This allows for a tenfold, you got that right! Tenfold! Increase in the density of the anode, which can substantially increase the operating time of portable electronic devices and, critically, the driving range of plug-in electric vehicles.
This is where you come in, as of right now unfortunately, LMBs face two major technical challenges that must be overcome before they can be safely commercialized:
During the charge/discharge cycles, dendrites – whiskers of lithium that grow inside batteries – reduce anode performance until the dendrites eventually reach the cathode resulting in catastrophic failure. In addition, unwanted reactions between the lithium metal anode with the electrolyte lead to consumption of electrolyte and continuous erosion of system performance. Further related challenges include reducing the formation of dead lithium, controlling anode volume expansion, and otherwise maximizing coulomb efficiency and lifespan.
Well, the opportunity, let’s just say that a multinational car company is seeking a novel and innovative solution that can cost effectively eliminate, control or reduce dendrite formation and reduce lithium/electrolyte reactions on a lithium metal anode without sacrificing battery performance characteristics.
And all it requires of you, is to login here, to begin!
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