High Performance Silk based Lithium-ion Batteries

Silk based lithium-ion batteries perform better, have a longer lifespan of over 10000 cycles.

Lithium-ion batteries, also called Li-ion batteries, are incredibly popular, as we use them to power a variety of devices and equipment. From portable devices like smartphones and cameras, to power tools like cordless drills and saws, to electric vehicles and model aircrafts, these batteries are some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries are much lighter than other types of rechargeable batteries of the same size.

Some of the major setbacks are that once lithium-ion batteries leave the factory, they start degrading, and although they outperform other types of batteries in sustaining charge, they also don’t last long without a recharge. On average most batteries lifespan is after 1000 cycles which means they will only last two or three years from the date of manufacture.

Research on Silk based lithium-ion batteries

The lifespan of the batteries has seen more research carried out to improve performance and lifespan. But the next generation lithium-ion batteries may hold more charge, thanks to a new material derived from natural silk. According to scientists at the Beijing Institute of Technology, if a regenerated silk fibroin material is used, the resulting silk based lithium-ion batteries may have over 10,000 cycles.

The researchers say the choice to use natural silk was driven by the need to find a sustainable bio-renewable source. They note that natural silk could be processed to create carbon-based nanosheets, which they used to make batteries and super capacitors prototypes.

Additionally, the silk fibroin material also stores five times more lithium than graphite, which is commonly used in the anode (negative electrode. Storing more lithium means there will be an increase in energy that can be stored, and the resulting battery had a capacity of 1,865 mAh/g, five times greater than the theoretical capacity of graphite (372 mAh/g).

The silk based lithium-ion batteries could retain a high cycle stability of around 92 percent after 10,000 cycles, which means the battery will take a longer time to run out and can be charged and discharged many times more compared to current lithium-ion batteries.

The researchers now believe that if this method is scaled up for commercial use, the silk fibroin material can be used to manufacture sodium-ion batteries, hydrogen storage, and other hybrid energy storage devices.

Research in lithium-ion batteries has seen many proposed refinements with ideas focusing on energy density capacity and the choice of silk may not only provide that, but also a sustainable source.

Even though still under research, the silk based lithium-ion batteries is in the right direction as the demand for better performing batteries continue to increase due to the increased use of mobile devices and need for bigger and long-lasting energy storage.

Source ACS Nano