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New Lithium Battery Design Eliminates Costly Cobalt and Nickel

A new cathode and electrolyte are the key to doing away with these increasingly scarce metals in lithium batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries have gained in popularity over the last decade based on their higher power and small size. But their popularity is straining the world’s supply of cobalt and nickel, two metals used in lithium batteries. As a result, prices for those metals have skyrocketed.

To develop alternative designs for lithium-based batteries with less reliance on those scarce metals, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have been looking into new cathode and electrolytes to replace the expensive metals and traditional liquid electrolyte with lower cost transition metal fluorides and a solid polymer electrolyte.

“Electrodes made from transition metal fluorides have long shown stability problems and rapid failure, leading to significant skepticism about their ability to be used in next generation batteries,” says Gleb Yushin, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering. “But we’ve shown that when used with a solid polymer electrolyte, metal fluorides show remarkable stability, even at higher temperatures, which could lead to safer, lighter, and less-expensive lithium-ion batteries.”…[ ]

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