Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have constructed an improved energy-dense lithium-ion battery of tin and graphene.


Nanoscale Pillars Could Play a Role in Future Li-ion Batteries

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have constructed an improved energy-dense lithium-ion battery of tin and graphene.

Chemists have been trying to find a way to construct reliable batteries with tin or silicon electrodes because they both have the potential to store very large amounts of energy per kg of batteries. (People often confuse power with energy — you should understand the difference before continuing.)

Batteries with silicon electrodes have been demonstrated by Stanford University researchers to store 1,000 Wh/kg, which is ten times more than that of the average lithium-ion battery.

However, silicon and tin electrodes have a major drawback which must be addressed before they can become practical — they don’t last long. As they absorb lithium ions, they expand, and as they release lithium ions, they contract.

Expansion and contraction causes them to crack and, before long, they are no longer usable.

Tin electrodes actually absorb too many lithium ions and expand 2-3 times their size and then break. Silicon on the other hand is too brittle, so researchers developed an electrode made of silicon wires instead, but it also had a short lifespan.

Researchers have been trying alloys containing these materials with the hope that they can withstand more expansion and contraction, but this article pertains to the use of microscopic pillars (columns) made of tin that are sandwiched by sheets of graphene. This new type of battery is more expensive per watt-hour of energy than traditional batteries.

I should add that even though a higher performance battery constructed of advanced technology may cost more to manufacture per kg, fewer high-performance batteries are required to achieve the same level of performance and driving range as an electric vehicle equipped with traditional batteries, so it may not necessarily cost more than traditional batteries.

If you didn’t understand the paragraph above: An electric vehicle with lighter batteries that stores as much energy as traditional ones will drive farther per charge. A vehicle with batteries that produce more power for its weight is either faster or could achieve the same performance with fewer batteries, and fewer batteries means a cheaper vehicle.

If the lighter batteries are slightly more expensive per watt-hour of energy that they store, but they are much lighter than traditional ones, that would be a big help in achieving the same driving range and performance as a traditional vehicle.

As is the case with many new technologies, this new type of battery has to be improved significantly because it can be recharged more than 30 times.

h/t Technology Review

Graphene image via Wikimedia Commons

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:


You May Also Like


A polymer-based electrolyte made for batteries that keep working — and don’t catch fire — when heated to over 140 degrees F.


There were a couple of interesting developments in June in regards to electric power. One was that NextEra Energy issued its Investor Conference Report...

Cleantech News

Despite their supposed focus on sustainability, there seems to be an awful lot of fossil fuel and ‘big oil’ money creeping into university’s “green”...

Air Quality

The only things we have to give up are killing people and wrecking the environment. Okay, let’s start with a list of the things...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.