graphene battery

A graphene battery (correctly denoted as a silicon-graphene anode lithium ion battery) was first shown in 2012. Graphene is used to help overcome previous battery limitations, leading to increased performance and longevity. Graphene works in electrodes as a support or a composite/hybrid and helps to keep metal ions in a regular order, increasing electrode efficiency. As a composite material its high conductivity and well-ordered structure are unique and very desirable. Researchers built a lithium-ion battery made of graphene and silicon, which was claimed to last over a week and took only 15 minutes to charge.


What is a graphene battery?

Lithium ion cycling has been demonstrated in bi-layer graphene films, built upon nickel substrates, while single layer graphene films have been demonstrated as a protective layer against corrosion. This creates possibilities for flexible electrodes for microscale Li-ion batteries, where the anode acts as the active material.


Graphene battery properties

In 2015 argon-ion based plasma processing was used to bombard graphene samples, enhancing the capacitance three-fold. In 2016, Huawei announced graphene-assisted Lithium-Ion batteries with greater heat tolerance and twice the life span of existing technologies.

Graphene production methods

There are two main methods of graphene production, split into chemical vapour deposition and exfoliation from graphite. The first produces a single layer of graphene on a substrate, thought of as the best grade of graphene but it is also much more expensive and liberated in lower yields. This grade is often appropriate for the electronics industry. The second method convert graphite into graphene. Highly corrosive chemicals, mechanical stress and high temperatures play a role in this process. The variation of product is less consistent, a lower-quality type of graphene but manufactured at a smaller cost and in contrast to vapour deposition, the scale of output is much greater.


Graphene hybrids

Graphite has been used as part of the cathode material traditionally. The large surface area facilitates li+ ions to be captured via surface adsorption and induced bonding. Graphene electrodes also have a high conductivity. Classically, metal oxides have a low conductivity and low volumetric energy density. A hybrid of a metal oxide with graphene facilitates the conductivity as the interaction between the interstitial ions and the hybrid matrix is much more efficient.


Graphene battery research in cars

There are tremendous challenges in utilising graphene in the automotive landscape. Primarily, the density challenges that impact the safety and strength of lithium batteries in EVs. Degradation of the batteries is a real world issue. Samsung is working on a graphene ball battery that could vastly reduce charging times. Also, developments in Spain, via a company called Earthdas, show developments of a graphene battery that charges motorcycles/bikes.



Thermal management

In 2011, researchers found that a multilayer graphene architecture can be an approach for thermal interfacial materials (TIMs) with superior thermal conductivity and ultra-low interfacial thermal resistance. Graphene-metal composites can be used.

Adding a layer of graphene to each side of a copper film increased the heat-conducting properties. They could realistically be used for semiconductor interconnects. The improvement is the result of changes in copper’s nano- and microstructure.


Graphene as a supercapacitor

Due to graphene’s high surface-area-to-mass ratio, another related application is in the conductive plates of supercapacitors. In February 2013 researchers announced a novel technique to produce graphene supercapacitors based on the DVD burner reduction approach. A supercapacitor was later produced that was claimed to achieve energy density comparable to current lithium-ion batteries.

In 2015 laser-induced graphene was produced. The sections were then stacked, separated by solid electrolytes, making multiple micro-supercapacitors. The stacked configuration increased the energy density. The resulting devices were mechanically flexible, making them potentially suitable for rolling in a cylindrical configuration.


In 2015, a micro-supercapacitor created suitable for use in a wearable device. It is capable of holding more than twice as much charge as a comparable thin-film lithium battery. The design employed laser-scribed graphene with manganese dioxide. Their capacity is six times that of commercially available supercapacitors.


Graphene fuel cells

Perforated graphene offers the potential for using graphene monolayers as a barrier that blocks hydrogen atoms but not protons/ionised hydrogen. The membranes are more efficient when covered with catalytic nanoparticles such as platinum.

Graphene would eliminate fuel crossover, which reduces efficiency and durability. In methanol fuel cells, graphene has reduced fuel cross over with negligible proton resistance. Proton conductivity with monolayer hBN, outperforms graphene, with resistivity to proton flow of about 10 Ω cm2.  At higher temperatures graphene outperforms with resistivity estimated to fall below 10−3 Ω cm2 above 250 degrees Celsius.


Recent category posts


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