Chemists and materials scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a new kind of glass they say could significantly improve batteries. The research team says the new material — vanadate-borate glass — could be used as the cathode to double the life of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.
“One major advantage of vanadate-borate glass is that it is simple and inexpensive to manufacture,” says Semih Afyon, a scientist at the Electrochemical Materials Institute and a lead researcher on the project.
The material is made of vanadium oxide and lithium-borate precursors, and was coated with reduced graphite oxide. This increases its conductivity and protects the electrode particles. Fortuantely, it doesn’t impede the flow of electrons and lithium ions as they move through the electrodes.
Coin-cell battery prototypes have already been created and tested. One battery with an RGO-coated vanadate-borate glass electrode had an energy density of around 1000 watt-hours per kilogram and a discharge capacity of more than 300 mAh/g. “This would be enough energy to power a mobile phone between 1.5 and two times longer than today’s lithium-ion batteries,” Afyon says.
The researchers still need to optimize the battery, however. In particular, they will be working on ways to increase the number of charge/discharge cycles.