A lithium-ion battery is a member of a family of rechargeable battery types in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery. The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion cell.
Our research focuses on:
Electric Vehicle Batteries
Li-ion batteries of the type currently used worldwide in mobile-phones and lap-tops are, to a high degree of certainty, now poised also to become the battery of choice in future electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) concepts, and other even larger-scale battery applications. This poses a number of new challenges within the Li-ion battery research field.
Current Li-ion batteries generally have Li cobalt oxide as their active cathode material. Upscaled Li-ion batteries must exploit a much cheaper transition-metal than cobalt (Co); ideally, the cheapest – iron (Fe) – in combination with a graphite (C)-based anode. This is the consequence of the hugely greater quantities of material needed in larger batteries. Whereas a mobile-phone battery consumes only a few grams of the relatively expensive active transition-metal oxide such as LiCoO2, an EV/HEV battery-unit will consume kilo-quantities of active cathode material per unit.
With larger quantities of battery materials, and using batteries in heavy vehicles at large speeds, there is also a need for increased battery safety. Side-reactions between the electrode and electrolyte materials must therefore be avoided.
Furthermore, while in operation, an EV or HEV battery has a considerably much faster charge-discharge cycle than conventional small-scale batteries normally have. Therefore, efforts are made to increase the cyclability and life-time of the battery materials.
Our EV and large-scale battery research involve:
Development of a new iron silicate based active cathode materials (see cathodes).
Micro-cycling studies of battery materials.
Surface studies (XPS) of battery electrodes for improved safety and better material utilization.
Pilot-line Li-ion battery prototype production (financed by Knut and Alice Walleberg Foundation and the Swedish Energy Agency)
We participate in several networks with the Swedish vehicle industries and other academic partners; e.g., Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre, the Li-cluster and the Green Car Project. Internationally, we participate in the HELIOS project on EV batteries.