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Researchers develop cobalt-free lithium-ion battery

A team including University of Tokyo researchers has presented a viable alternative to cobalt metal that it says can outperform current lithium-ion battery (LIB) chemistry.

The researchers claim that the new electrodes and electrolyte are cobalt-free, improve battery chemistry, and last for many recharge cycles. The new LIBs can deliver 4.4 V, compared to the 3.2-3.7 V of typical LIBs, and have a 60% higher energy density, which may extend their lifespan. The new chemistry allowed test batteries to fully charge and discharge over 1,000 cycles (three years of full use and charging) while losing only 20% of their storage capacity. In addition to applications in LIBs, the new concepts can be applied to other electrochemical processes and devices, including other kinds of batteries, water splitting (to produce hydrogen and oxygen), ore smelting, electro-coating and more.

“There are many reasons we want to transition away from using cobalt in order to improve lithium-ion batteries,” said Professor Atsuo Yamada from the university’s Department of Chemical System Engineering. “For us the challenge is a technical one, but its impact could be environmental, economic, social and technological. We report a new alternative to cobalt by using a novel combination of elements in the electrodes, including lithium, nickel, manganese, silicon and oxygen—all far more common and less problematic elements to produce and work with.”

Source: University of Tokyo
Image: ©2023 Yamada et al. CC-BY-ND

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