Unraveling the mystery of the battery recharge cycle

Battery recharge time

Why does it take so long to fully charge your phone, computer or car? This is the question that research teams led at UQAM by Professor of the Department of Chemistry Steen Schougaard, member of NanoQAM, and at McGill University by Professor Janine Mauzeroll, in collaboration with the European Synchrotron Radiation, are trying to answer. Facility (ESRF) located in Grenoble, France.

New “LIME” characterization technique

In an article recently published in Joule, they describe a new technique that makes it possible to study in real time what happens at the very heart of lithium-ion batteries during a recharge or discharge cycle. “The technique, developed at the ESRF, consists of using highly concentrated X-rays whose tiny beam scans the battery studied in order to locate the signature of the lithium ions,” explains Steen Schougaard. What is innovative is that we managed to observe the movement of ions in the solid parts (the electrodes) and the liquid part (the electrolyte) of the battery at the same time, thus obtaining insight into what is happening. “It takes place in real time with good spatial resolution.”

The new technique was named “LIME” for Lithium Inventory Mapping in Electrodes. “The data collected offers a unique perspective to better understand which elements and/or processes in the battery limit the speed of recharging or discharging,” explains Steen Schougaard.

This technique will be useful for testing existing lithium-ion batteries on the market and new models that will be developed over the next few years. “The ultimate goal is to design a battery that rivals the “recharging” speed of gasoline-powered cars, eliminating or alleviating one of the biggest frustrations with renewable energy in transportation: waiting time to recharge a battery,” concludes the professor.

At a time when Quebec is investing massively in the Energy Transition Valley and trying to attract companies specializing in lithium-ion technology and battery manufacturing, such as Northvolt, Steen Schougaard is delighted to be able to offer current and future students from UQAM and NanoQAM the opportunity to participate in research into the lithium batteries of tomorrow.

Source: Actualités UQAM