• Dhanush kumar S

Battery technologies

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

In our schooling, we all would have performed the experiment of making the #LED light to glow. In that experiment for the source of power supply, we would have used a 9V battery. That battery provides enough electric current for the LED to glow. Similarly, various kinds of batteries are used according to the requirement. Batteries are nothing but an electrical component that is capable of storing electrical energy and can deliver when it is needed.


Over a period of time, batteries have been modified and designed using various #technologies. Alessandro Volta constructed the first liquid-based electrochemical cell in 1800. It composes copper and zinc as their electrodes separated by brine-soaked paper disks. Nowadays they are replaced by dry cell batteries due to the advancement of various technologies. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the various technologies involved in designing the #batteries.


Electric battery:


Technically, an electric battery is a device that consists of two or more electrochemical cells with external connections for powering up flashlights, cars, mobile phones, laptops. The positive terminal of the battery is the cathode and the negative terminal is the anode which is the source of electrons. The battery provides electrical energy produced as the result of a redox reaction when they are connected to load.


Types of Batteries

Batteries are classified into primary or single-use batteries and secondary or rechargeable batteries. In primary batteries, the materials in the electrode are irreversibly changed once they are used. For example, alkaline batteries used for flashlights. Secondary batteries can be discharged and recharged multiple times using electric current. Example: Lithium-ion batteries used for laptops and mobile phones.


Battery technologies:


In recent years, significant developments have been achieved in the field of #Electrical Energy Storage(EES) systems. This includes flywheels, electrochemical storage, and pumped hydroelectric storage(PHS). Out of all technologies, electrochemical storage is most prominently used because of its efficiency, scalability, and discharge time. Currently, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are mostly employed for powering small electrical equipment.


The Lithium-ion battery:


In 1991, Yoshio Nishi of sony corporation commercialized the first Li-ion battery. These secondary batteries are mostly employed for portable electrical devices, vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries use graphite as their negative electrode and intercalated lithium as the positive electrode. Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode through the electrolyte during discharge and the process is vice versa during charging.


electrochemical battery
Lithium-ion battery

These batteries are employed for their properties of low self-discharge, no memory effect, and high energy density. Nowadays lithium-ion batteries are developed as lithium polymer batteries with polymer gel as their electrolyte. Lithium iron phosphate, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, and lithium-ion manganese oxide are used as a cathode for lithium polymer batteries for their long lifetime and inflammable property.


Apart from various advantages, there are also certain disadvantages to polymer batteries. The cost of manufacturing these batteries is high and also possess decreased cycle count when compared to Li-ion batteries. Since Li-ion battery has non-toxic metals, they are non-hazardous to the environment and can be recycled easily.


Solid-state battery:


In solid-state battery #technology, the batteries are designed with solid electrolyte and solid electrode. Unlike the lithium-ion battery, which has a liquid electrolyte, these batteries have solid electrolytes such as phosphates, sulfides, and other solid polymers. Solid-state batteries are adopted for their durability, sensitivity, the non-hazardous property of the materials used, and lifetime.


Solid-state batteries are employed in medical equipment such as pacemakers, Radio Frequency Identification devices, and other wearable devices. Since devices such as pacemakers are placed close to the heart, any leakage in the battery may result in a life threat. They can be charged rapidly and the life cycle of these batteries is also very long.


The challenges in solid-state batteries include the high-pressure requirement to maintain contact with electrodes. The cost of manufacturing is high and so they are not being used in smartphones. They cannot be operated at low temperatures.


Organosilicon electrolyte battery:


In Li-ion batteries, the liquid electrolytes can be replaced by organosilicon based electrolytes for their better functionality. Mainly the Li-ion batteries are avoided because of the risk in the leakage of their liquid electrolyte. Organosilicon electrolytes are non-toxic, non-flammable, and also possess low glass transition temperature. They can also improve the #electrochemical properties and safety of Li-ion batteries.


Prototype of organosilicon electrolyte batteries

Ethylene oxide is used as the major electrolyte in organosilicon based batteries. These batteries can be manufactured at the molecular level for both industrial as well as consumer Li-ion battery markets.


Nanowire gel electrolyte battery:


Nanowire batteries employ nanowires to increase the surface area of the electrodes. In all the batteries which are designed using this technology, the traditional graphite anode is replaced by gold, lead oxide, manganese oxide. In 2014, lead oxide nanowire was successfully manufactured by the process of electrodeposition.


Manganese oxide is one of the good electrodes because of its non-toxicity, high energy capacity, and low in cost. But inserting lithium-ion into this crystal may result in the volumetric expansion of the crystal. This may alter the properties of manganese oxide. Hence, using the nanotechnology Li-enriched Manganese oxide nanowire was designed.


As we all know, that gold can act as a good anode. The gold nanowires strengthened by manganese dioxide enclosed by Plexiglas gel-like electrolyte has been designed and tested. When the electrode has been charged, it went through 20,000 cycles without losing its ability to hold the charge. The rate is only 6000 cycles in a conventional battery.


TankTwo String cell battery:


These kinds of batteries are employed for electric vehicles. The electric vehicles are not employed by the consumers because of its high charging time, and more power consumption. This battery can rectify those queries. String cell battery contains a collection of small independent self-organizing cells.

String cell batteries

Each string cell is covered with conductive material in order to establish contact with the external devices easily. Electric vehicles deigned using TankTwo string cells can charge a tank full of depleted cells in just 3 minutes. They can also be interchanged between vehicles so that cost per vehicle can be reduced greatly.


These are some of the recent battery technologies in the market. The requirement of advanced batteries is still increasing due to the advancement in the designs of several electrical appliances.


See also:

  1. Article on LCD interfacing with raspberry pi

  2. Article on interfacing a buzzer with Arduino

  3. Smart lighting system- using LEDs, LDR and raspberry pi

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