According to the scientists of Rice University, asphalt can be the secret ingredient of high-capacity lithium batteries which can even charge 10 to 20 times faster than any lithium-ion batteries used commercially now a day.
The findings of the Rice University laboratory of chemist James tour has been published in the American Chemical Society Journal ACS Nano. As per the report of Tour, he has developed a new kind of anode comprising of porous carbon, which is made of asphalt.
A lithium-ion battery comprising of this anode has shown exceptional kind of stability even after 500 charging and discharging cycles.
The high current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter of the material has been proved to be highly beneficial for devices which need rapid charging and discharging in addition to high-power density.
Tour mentioned that the battery has a huge capacity besides being charged from nil to full charge just within five minutes. while in case of commercial lithium-ion battery is typically two hours even more in some cases.
A Derived Form of Asphalt
Initially Tour and his assistants have used a derived form of asphalt, something typically like untreated Gilsonite, which is same as used in the battery for extracting the greenhouse gases from mixture natural gases.
In the case of lithium-ion battery, the scientists have mixed the asphalt with more conductive grapheme nano-ribbons.
After this, they are coated with lithium metal by the procedure of electro-chemical deposition. After that they simply combined the anode with a sulfurized-carbon cathode to bring a full length battery into life.
The testing of this battery revealed major development in the history of electrolytic batteries.
While testing, the battery showed the high energy density of nearly 943 watt-hours per kilogram and high capacity of nearly 1322 watts per kilogram.
Another Significant Use of Asphalt
Besides this major development the researchers observed another significant advantage of using asphalt in lithium ion batteries. In commercial lithium-ion batteries, the carbon caused the formation of lithium dendrite.
These depositions tend to invade the electrolyte of the battery. It can even cause short circuit between cathode and anode if allowed to extend. This may end up in battery failure or catching fire or in worst case explosion.
But in case of asphalt derived carbon anode, no lithium dendrite is formed. Even anodes of grapheme or carbon nano-tubes also prevented dendrite formation but as per Tour the new composition is much simpler.
Tour said that capacity of a asphalt lithium battery and a commercial lithium-ion battery maybe same but the former one can take much more lithium metal in per unit area.
He also said that there is no need of any chemical vapor deposition or e-beam deposition or nano-tubes of grapheme to manufacture an asphalt lithium battery so the process is much simpler.