Navigation Links
Using sand to improve battery performance
Date:7/8/2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (http://www.ucr.edu) Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand.

"This is the holy grail a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes," said Zachary Favors, a graduate student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both engineering professors at UC Riverside.

The idea came to Favors six months ago. He was relaxing on the beach after surfing in San Clemente, Calif. when he picked up some sand, took a close look at it and saw it was made up primarily of quartz, or silicon dioxide.

His research is centered on building better lithium ion batteries, primarily for personal electronics and electric vehicles. He is focused on the anode, or negative side of the battery. Graphite is the current standard material for the anode, but as electronics have become more powerful graphite's ability to be improved has been virtually tapped out.

Researchers are now focused on using silicon at the nanoscale, or billionths of a meter, level as a replacement for graphite. The problem with nanoscale silicon is that it degrades quickly and is hard to produce in large quantities.

Favors set out to solve both these problems. He researched sand to find a spot in the United States where it is found with a high percentage of quartz. That took him to the Cedar Creek Reservoir, east of Dallas, where he grew up.

Sand in hand, he came back to the lab at UC Riverside and milled it down to the nanometer scale, followed by a series of purification steps changing its color from brown to bright white, similar in color and texture to powdered sugar.

After that, he ground salt and magnesium, both very common elements found dissolved in sea water into the purified quartz. The resulting powder was then heated. With the salt acting as a heat absorber, the magnesium worked to remove the oxygen from the quartz, resulting in pure silicon.

The Ozkan team was pleased with how the process went. And they also encountered an added positive surprise. The pure nano-silicon formed in a very porous 3-D silicon sponge like consistency. That porosity has proved to be the key to improving the performance of the batteries built with the nano-silicon.

The improved performance could mean expanding the expected lifespan of silicon-based electric vehicle batteries up to 3 times or more, which would be significant for consumers, considering replacement batteries cost thousands of dollars. For cell phones or tablets, it could mean having to recharge every three days, instead of every day.

The findings were just published in a paper, "Scalable Synthesis of Nano-Silicon from Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries," in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. In addition to Favors and the Ozkan's, authors were: Wei Wang, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zafer Mutlu, Kazi Ahmed and Chueh Liu. All five are graduate students working in the Ozkan's labs.

Now, the Ozkan team is trying to produce larger quantities of the nano-silicon beach sand and is planning to move from coin-size batteries to pouch-size batteries that are used in cell phones.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Mechanism that prevents lethal bacteria from causing invasive disease is revealed
2. Green buildings have potential to improve health of low-income housing residents
3. Using geometry, researchers coax human embryonic stem cells to organize themselves
4. Sequencing efforts miss DNA crucial to bacterias disease causing power
5. Grinding away at history using forensic paleontology and archeology
6. US housing policies increase carbon output, Georgia State University research finds
7. Technology using microwave heating may impact electronics manufacture
8. Targeting tumors using silver nanoparticles
9. Bacterium causing US catfish deaths has Asian roots
10. Transforming hydrogen into liquid fuel using atmospheric CO2
11. Scientists control rapid re-wiring of brain circuits using patterned visual stimulation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Using sand to improve battery performance
(Date:2/9/2017)... , Feb. 9, 2017 The biomass boiler ... of the biomass boiler market globally in terms of ... biomass boilers. The market for biomass boilers has been ... end-user, application, and country/region. The market based on feedstock ... forest residues, biogas & energy crops, urban residues, and ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... AWRE ), a leading supplier of biometrics software ... year ended December 31, 2016. Revenue for ... $6.9 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income ... to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Net ... or $0.02 per diluted share, which compares to $1.8 million, ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 ... Driven largely by the confluence of organizations, desires ... distaste for knowledge-based systems (password and challenge questions), ... industrial, and government systems. The market is driven ... a demarcation between consumer and enterprise uses cases, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... RADNOR, Pa. , March 22, 2017 ... leading global independent provider of product and ... announced today that it has acquired EPL ... that supports customers across the entire regulated ... providing archive sample, document storage and ancillary ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... ... Okyanos Cell Therapy has announced Tallahassee, FL will be the next destination ... Therapy: The Next Phase in the Evolution of Medicine.” As the Bahamas’ first fully ... Act, Okyanos maintains a mission to help “no-option” patients and those with serious, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks ... Chief Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is ... and diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... The Conference Forum has announced the launch ... held on May 10-11, 2017, at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA. The CMO ... Officer peer-to-peer learning, benchmarking and support. , “The Chief Medical Officer faces a unique ...
Breaking Biology Technology: