JUL 02, 2020 7:11 AM PDT

Scientists develop artificial SEI for more efficient batteries

New research published in Nanoscale Advances details the development of a coating for batteries composed of organic compounds. The coating imitates the natural SEI (solid electrolyte interphase) layer that grows when batteries are charged and used, making batteries last longer. 

The surface of the artificial SEI is even more effective than that of a naturally developed layer, say the scientists from Aalto University who worked on the project. 

'We will make a coating that imitates a completely natural SEI layer and which we hope will protect the actual electrode material', says doctoral candidate Juho Heiska.

This development, which uses carbon dioxide in molecular layer deposition, is crucial for improving the technology of batteries. As our world transitions more and more away from fossil fuels, we will rely on batteries for charging and recharging more heavily.

The artificial SEI has another perk, too: it makes it so that battery electrodes can be made of more efficient electrode materials. A battery consists of two electrodes, the characteristics of which affect the performance of the battery.

'It would be a jackpot if batteries could use metallic lithium. If clean lithium metal could be used safely, it would significantly increase the capacity of batteries. With the help of an artificial SEI, this might be possible', says Juho Heiska. Metal lithium can ignite the battery if it comes into contact with water or air. It is, therefore, challenging to use it in batteries.

Photo: Pixabay

'Metal extraction is too cheap at the moment, which is why companies do not have the incentive to produce products with a longer life span. And consumers are not interested in paying more for batteries', adds Juho Heiska.

The researchers plan to continue their investigation by testing their artificial SEI fares on various batteries. 

Sources: Nanoscale Advances, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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