Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Battery Research: Bionics Reduces Filling Time

18.10.2011
KIT Technology Significantly Reduces Production Costs of Lithium-ion Cells

The latest development by engineers of KIT is inspired by nature. To fill the porous electrodes of lithium-ion batteries more rapidly with liquid electrolyte, they use a physicochemical effect that also provides water transport in trees. The new process increases the throughput of battery production and reduces investment costs. This and other innovations will be presented by KIT at the eCarTec International Electromobility Fair in Munich (hall A5, stand 323) from October 18 to 20.

The electrodes inside modern batteries are as porous as a sponge. Unlike household sponges, however, pore size is in the micrometer range. As a result, the electrode has a very large surface area and provides lots of space for the chemical processes during electric charge and discharge. This is necessary for developing batteries for electric vehicles that can cover large distances and be recharged rapidly. “But the pores have to be filled completely with the electro-lyte for optimized operation,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Pfleging from KIT. The liquid electrolyte is the transport medium, in which the charged ions can diffuse between anode and cathode in the battery. “Without electrolyte, there is no charge equalization inside and no electric current flow outside.” The materials used in conventional high-energy batteries for automotive industry, however, show poor wetting of the electrode surface by the liquid electrolyte.

Consequently, much time and expenditure in battery production have been spent so far for making the electrolyte move into the smallest pore, if possible, and for maximizing battery performance. The liquid is forced to enter the material by expensive and time-consuming vacuum or storage processes at elevated temperatures. “Our new process allows reduction of this time span from several hours down to a few minutes,” confirms Pfleging. To achieve this amazing effect, he relies on nature. By a mechanico-chemical tech-nology, the electrodes are modified such that the electrolyte is sucked into the battery as water is sucked into high trees. As a re-sult, the electrolyte spreads very rapidly over the complete material and performance data of batteries based on this principle are much better.

“This novel electrode modification drastically reduces the technical expenditure and production times needed for filling lithium-ion cells with electrolyte,” acknowledges Andreas Gutsch. Under the Compe-tence E project, he coordinates the activities of more than 250 scientists at KIT to utilize the large innovation potential of a number of partial improvements and to further develop the entire system. “Now, an interdisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, materials researchers, and process engineers has succeeded in making an important step towards low-cost batteries.” A patent has already been applied for. The process is planned to be integrated in the production lines of battery manufacturers as quickly as possible. “We are pushing licensing to close the innovation gap between development and industry as rapidly as possible. Several renowned companies have already asked for license contracts. At KIT, we are conducting excellent research for application, not for the drawer.”

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation according to the legislation of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. KIT focuses on a knowledge triangle that links the tasks of research, teaching, and innovation.

For further information, please contact:
Kosta Schinarakis
PKM, Themenscout
Tel.: +49 721 608-41956
Fax: +49 721 608-43568
E-Mail:schinarakis@kit.edu

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.kit.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht The world's most powerful acoustic tractor beam could pave the way for levitating humans
22.01.2018 | University of Bristol

nachricht Siberian scientists learned how to reduce harmful emissions from HPPs
22.01.2018 | Siberian Federal University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>