Alkali metal anodes for rechargeable batteries suffer from dendrite formation, which subsequently causes electrical shorting and thermal runaway for the battery. A technology developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin stabilizes the anode-electrolyte interface such that stable alkali-metal plating/stripping is achieved upon charge and discharge of the cell without the formation of dendrites. This technology has been shown to drastically improve cycle life in pouch cells. In addition, this battery technology can be used in conjunction with current Li+-ion battery infrastructure to enable a stable lithium-metal anode, drastically increasing their energy-density. Additionally, the invention enables other secondary battery schemes that require an alkali-metal anode for viability, such as lithium-sulfur.
A lithium-sulfur pouch cell and accompanying data are shown for a lab-scale prototype. As illustrated, the cycle life of the pouch cell was more than doubled without indication of a short circuit. This pouch cell was produced with practical electrolyte loadings to mimic true conditions and standards held in industry. Lithium-metal anodes stabilized with this technology enable excellent electrochemical performance in practically relevant lithium-sulfur batteries. It can also be applied with a traditional Li+-ion cathode for a high power, energy dense lithium-ion battery.
IP status: U.S. provisional patent application