Researchers at the School of Engineering have developed a battery that can last one thousand charge cycles—when a battery is fully charged, depleted and recharged—without suffering from electrode degradation, which is the cause of charge capacity loss.
Yi Cui, associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering, led the research group. The study appears in the October 2012 edition of Nature Communications.
Typically, batteries degrade over time due to the process of repeatedly forcing ions from the cathode to the anode when charging, then allowing the ions to flow to the cathode, providing the electrical current during use.
Cui’s team addressed the issue of battery degradation by covering the cathode with copper hexacyanoferrate, which allows ions to easily move to and from the cathode. The team constructed the anode out of activated carbon and polypyrrole, a conductive polymer, to allow ions to flow freely to and from the anode without causing loss of the anode’s ability to hold a charge.
The battery’s core is composed of potassium ions in liquid solution.
The team highlighted the need to provide power options in cases when solar or wind-generated energy is insufficient in a power grid.
“New types of energy storage are needed in conjunction with the deployment of solar, wind and other volatile renewable energy sources and their integration with the electric grid,” the researchers wrote in the article’s abstract.