IIT Hyderabad researchers develop alternative to lithium-ion batteries

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on April 05, 2021

Low-cost dual-carbon battery has potential in EVs, high-voltage applications

The Electrochemical Energy Storage (EES) Lab at IIT Hyderabad has developed a 5V dual-carbon battery utilising self-standing carbon fibre mats as both electrodes (cathode and anode).

This new model sets aside the requirement for toxic, costly, and heavy transitional metals.

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Energy economy based on renewable sources has been put forward as a way to shrug off the dependence on fossil fuel. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are projected to meet electric mobility, electric aviation, and stationary grid energy storage targets within the year 2030.

However, LIBs need toxic and costly metals like cobalt, nickel, manganese, etc., for functioning. Geologically unsymmetrical distribution of lithium and cobalt along with geopolitics and unethical child labour centreed on mining causes havoc and fluctuations in raw material prices. It affects the market price stability of large LIB packs used in electric vehicles. In the dual-carbon battery, both the electrodes consist of carbonaceous materials, and the ions from the electrolyte intercalate and de-intercalate into the electrode matrix.

The novel dual carbon battery consisting of zero transition metal is environmentally benign. It may cut down the overall battery cost by 20-25 per cent and is expected to curb the unpredictability in market prices. Use of the ubiquitous carbon as the electrode active material as well as current collector replacing heavy metals bring in the aspects of lightness and flexibility. The fabricated 5.0 voltage (nominal voltage 4.6 V) cell provides an energy density of 100-watt hour per kilogram approximately and can be extended up to 150-watt hour per kilogram with further modifications. The research team believes that developed cells may find potential uses in high-voltage applications, sophisticated battery-run medical devices, regenerative braking systems in electric vehicles, and stationary grids.

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This has been developed under the supervision of Dr. Surendra Kumar Martha, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry.

Martha in a statement said, “The study will be extrapolated to push the energy density limits further, and their broad vision includes introducing the dual carbon system as a cheaper LIB alternative to the Indian market.”

The research was carried out by Shuvajit Ghosh and Udita Bhattacharjee, PhD students at IIT Hyderabad, under the supervision of Surendra K. Martha, in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA and Naval Materials Research Laboratory, Mumbai. The Naval Research Board of DRDO supported this project.

Published on April 05, 2021

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