A major part of the energy sector is shifting from the traditional way of electricity generation by burning fossil fuels to a sustainable and cost-effective way of harvesting solar cells to generate electricity. The primary means for sustainable energy generation is renewable energy resources such as solar or wind. Since the renewable source is intermittent, there is a requirement of resources such as batteries or supercapacitors to store the generated electrochemical energy.
Today, there are numerous commercially available batteries manufactured to fulfill the requirement of energy storage, but since they contain toxic elements, it is not user-friendly and will have a huge impact on environmental factors. These batteries also lag with critical metrics such as lack of power capability, sustainability, energy density, and safety factors. Therefore, the development of alternative resources with advanced engineering tactics such as longer battery life and fast charging with eco-friendly materials will minimize the limitations in the traditional battery system.
Donghai Wang, professor of mechanical engineering, Penn State Institute of Energy and the Environment, has stated that the development of next-generation batteries with lithium-ion as the material has several advantages such as high reliability and storage capacity, but is limited with cost and safety metrics. Wang and his team have carried out further research work to develop a novel battery technology with three-dimensional cross-linked polymer sponge attached to the metal plating of lithium-ion battery anode. Through this module, fast charging with slow deterioration can be expected, which makes it highly suitable for electrical storage applications.
Lithium material along with the polymer interface will act as a combination of a polymer sponge, where polymer promotes to the higher rate of ion transfer along with minimal deterioration. Furthermore, altered chemical reactions have made battery metal plating free from dendrites, even at a low temperature and frequently changing conditions. This project has also allowed researchers to study different aspects of battery technology such as material science, chemical engineering, and structure design aspects.
The theoretical and practical insights captured from the real-time application of lithium metal anodes will enable more powerful and stable battery technologies integrated into everyday life. Implementation of these batteries in electric vehicles will increase the life cycle of batteries and avoid regular charging cycles. The testing of these batteries in larger format battery cell are still at the developing stage, and its implementation may provide more advantages with better feasibility to the future energy storage applications.