New Battery Design is hybrid between Flow Batteries and Conventional Solid Ones

Cambridge, Mass.-based Battery Company 24M and researchers at MIT have developed a new manufacturing approach for lithium-ion batteries. The approach will not only prove cost effective, but will improve their performance and make it easier to recycle.

Not much change has been noticed in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries in the two decades. Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Ceramics at MIT, was of the view that the existing technology is not perfect and there is a need to made advancements.

Five years back, Chiang and colleagues developed the new process. In the process, the electrodes are suspensions of small particles carried by a liquid and pumped through different compartments of the battery.

Scientists said that the new battery design is a hybrid between flow batteries and conventional ones. The research published in the Journal of Power Sources unveiled that the new approach has simplified manufacturing. Also, the batteries become flexible and resistant to damage.

Research paper' senior author Chiang said that after presenting the earlier research on the flow battery, "We realized that a better way to make use of this flowable electrode technology was to reinvent the [lithium ion] manufacturing process".

In the new method, the electrode material remained in a liquid state. Having the electrode in the form of tiny suspended particles reduces the path length for charged particles as they move through the material, a property known as tortuosity.

Less tortuous path simplifies production and proves cost effective. The new system leads to the production of battery that is more flexible and resilient. Around 10,000 batteries have been made by the company on its prototype assembly lines. They will undergo testing by three industrial partners.