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2D Materials For Lithium-Air Batteries Better Than 3D

2D materials could be better catalysts for lithium-air batteries than 3D, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Currently, electric vehicles average about 100 miles per charge, but with the incorporation of 2D catalysts into lithium-air batteries, we could provide closer to 400 to 500 miles per charge, which would be a real game-changer,” says UIC’s Amin Salehi, “this would be a huge breakthrough in energy storage.” 

The researchers synthesized 15 different types of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC)—compounds that feature high electronic conductivity and fast electron transfers. 

These properties allow the materials to participate in reactions with other materials, including reactions that take place inside batteries during charging and discharging cycles.  

The team studied each of the 15 TMDCs as catalysts in an electrochemical system that mimics a lithium-air battery.

“In their 2D form, these TMDCs have much better electronic properties and greater reactive surface area to participate in electrochemical reactions within a battery while their structure remains stable,” says UIC’s Leily Majidi, “reaction rates are much higher with these materials compared to conventional catalysts used such as gold or platinum.”

TDMCs  synergize with electrolytes, which enable ions to move during charge and discharge cycles.

“The 2D TDMCs and the ionic liquid electrolyte that we used acts as a co-catalyst system that helps the electrons transfer faster, leading to faster charges and more efficient storage and discharge of energy,” says Salehi-Khojin, “these new materials represent a new avenue that can take batteries to the next level, we just need to develop ways to produce and tune them more efficiently and in larger scales.”

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Despite only being in the experimental stages of development, lithium-air batteries have demonstrated that they can store 10 times more energy than lithium-ion batteries at a much lighter weight. 

Source: ellectroniicsweekly

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