An innovation in the world of batteries could make it possible to increase the range of electric cars. To do this, scientists have changed the shape of the particles located at the cathode to reduce the empty space located in the latter. In other words, they increased the particle density and, therefore, the efficiency of the battery.
The autonomy of electric cars is the spearhead of car manufacturers, which do not fail to regularly present innovations that promise to break records in the field. For their part, scientists are also looking for ways improve vehicle batteries, which can be done in several ways. Thus, researchers at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have developed new cathode particles.
Let’s zoom out. Lithium batteries are generally composed of two electrodes, one of which being named cathode. This cathode is composed of several layers of metal oxides, in particular nickel, called NMC. These NMCs themselves are composed of tiny particles. In the same way that a finer etching of a processor makes it possible to improve its power by integrating more transistors, the more particles there are in the cathode, the more efficient it is.
This new method could increase the autonomy of electric car batteries
However, these particles generally take on an irregular pointed shape, which prevents them from fitting together correctly. In other words, the cathodes contain a lot of empty space. Optimizing this empty space would therefore increase the efficiency of the battery. It is precisely to this task that the Skolkovo researchers set about. To do this, they have changed the shape of the particles to get a sphere.
“Unlike polycrystals, powder particles have no internal structure, so there are no wasted spaces at grain boundaries”writes Aleksandra Savina, co-author of the study. “In addition, more spherical-shaped single crystals can be stacked in the same limited volume as octahedral-shaped crystals, which also allows for greater density. »
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And who says greater density also says greater efficiency and, de facto, better autonomy. According to the study, this new particle shape allows increase energy density by 25% compared to traditional batteries. This means that at the same size, these new batteries will allow motorists to travel a greater distance than with their current battery.
This is not the only advantage of this technology. According to the researchers, the spherical shape of the particles also makes it possible to reduce battery degradation, thus offering a longer use.
Source : Skoltech