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Lithium-Ion Battery with Higher Charge Capacity

Technology #20140204

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Lithium-ionZirconium
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Researchers
Andreas Stein, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering
External Link (www.chem.umn.edu)
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

PCT Patent Application WO2015131055 A1

Zirconate Based Cathode Material

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) typically use a cobalt compound as the cathode material. Cobalt oxides are relatively expensive and scarce. An innovative zirconate-based cathode material developed at the University of Minnesota has the potential to have significantly higher charge capacity than cobalt based cathodes. Lithium zirconate (Li8ZrO6) is generally far less expensive than cobalt compounds.

Better Battery Performance and Reliability

The versatility and efficiency of reusable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) makes them the gold standard for use in personal electronics. However, with the emergence of hybrid and electric vehicles, there is rapidly rising demand for lithium batteries that showcase reliability and charge capacity. Zirconate-based LIBs have been shown to be more efficient (in terms of charge per mass) than cobalt-oxide-based LIBs. Zirconate is also more economically available than cobalt, leading to an overall improved battery in terms of performance, cost and reliability.

Assist Alternative Energy Production

A primary challenge in the world’s movement to alternative energy is overcoming so-called “energy intermittency.” This is the fact that primary alternative energy forms (wind, sun, etc.) are not reliable in their ability to produce energy steadily over time. For example, clouds some days cover the sun, winds aren’t always blowing, etc. The charge capacity of lithium zirconate LIBs fulfills the industry’s need for reliable, high-capacity batteries to store surplus energy to create a constant supply. The nanoparticle form of the zirconate compound increases the ability for the battery to charge and discharge repeatedly without reducing the charge capacity.

BENEFITS AND FEATURES OF LITHIUM ZIRCONATE CATHODES FOR LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES:

  • Significantly higher charge capacity per mass of standard cobalt cathodes
  • Lower cost cathode material
  • High-performance lithium-ion batteries offer a solution to alternative energy “energy intermittency” reliability issue

Phase of Development Proof of concept. The material has been demonstrated to function as a cathode in a battery half-cell.