One of the biggest challenges in tech is batteries. How do you make sure you get as much out of them as possible, while keeping them small? After all, they have to fit in a smartphone that has to fit in your hand again, or they have to fit in a car and not be so big that a passenger car becomes more like a bus. Batteries are also no longer just those AA batteries you need to run your game controller.
Rejuvenate LFP batteries
LFP batteries, for example, lithium-iron-phosphate, have turned out to be recyclable very differently than is currently the case. Instead of breaking down what is left of the battery into all kinds of loose, chemical pieces that are used in new batteries, things can be done differently. Panpan Xu from the University of California has found a different technique. In this way, the material can be kind of revived, without it all having to be broken down.
We can go into deep detail about how the capacity of the LFP battery decreases, but we can also keep it a bit simpler. While all materials change in their way over time, the structure of the cathode side remains the same. Lithium ions get into those slots, but if iron atoms are ahead of them, the lithium path is blocked. If you manage to put those iron atoms back in their original position, so that the lithium ions have free rein again, then you have ‘rejuvenated’ the battery, as it were. As if it was just new.
Sounds very simple, but such a rejuvenated battery appears to deteriorate faster in quality. That’s why the researchers added that they let the dry powder glow at higher temperatures, they write ArsTechnica. An effective method that would be considerably cheaper than the methods currently in use. In fact, it would use 80 to 90 percent less energy and emit 75 percent less greenhouse gases.
This could become interesting, because Tesla, for example, plans to use more LFP batteries. These batteries are known for generally having a fairly long life. Especially if the researchers are able to convince companies of the “rejuvenation method”.