In a major leap forward for battery technology, scientists at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have introduced a lithium metal battery that can endure over 6,000 charge and discharge cycles, outperforming existing pouch battery cells. The breakthrough not only promises extended battery life but also brings the potential for rapid recharging, marking a significant advancement in energy storage.
Lithium metal anode batteries, often dubbed the “holy grail” of battery tech, could revolutionize energy storage by offering ten times the capacity of conventional graphite anodes. This breakthrough, led by Dr. Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science at SEAS, represents a crucial step towards more practical solid-state batteries for industrial and commercial applications.
One of the primary challenges in developing lithium metal batteries has been the formation of dendrites on the anode’s surface during charging, which can lead to short circuits or fires. Dr Li and the team addressed this issue by utilizing micron-sized silicon particles in the anode, preventing dendrite growth and enabling rapid plating and stripping.
The innovative battery design, akin to a hazelnut core wrapped in a chocolate truffle, ensures even current distribution, allowing for approximately 10-minute recharging times. The team tested a postage stamp-sized pouch cell version of the battery, demonstrating remarkable performance by retaining 80% of its capacity after an astonishing 6,000 charge cycles.
This groundbreaking technology has been licensed to Adden Energy, a Harvard spinoff company co-founded by Dr. Li and three Harvard alumni. Adden Energy has successfully scaled the technology to create smartphone-sized pouch cell batteries. The research not only sets new benchmarks in lithium metal battery performance but also identifies potential materials for similar breakthroughs, opening avenues for the next generation of energy storage solutions.
The findings were published in a research paper authored by Dr Xin Li and team, marking a significant milestone in the quest for high-performance, durable batteries with applications ranging from electric vehicles to portable electronics.