Project Title: ”Novel battery based on ionic liquids and nanostructured anode”
Project Type: National
The present project aims to design and manufacture a new type of electrochemical battery with high energy density. This correlation derives from multiple directions: electrical cars to replace internal combustion engine cars, energy storage (which are mainly obtained from unreliable “green” sources), increasing battery efficiency to provide reliable energy sources for multifarious electronic devices.
The battery brings a series of novelty elements, such as: novel nanostructured anodes, novel electrolyte based on ionic liquids, the introduction of new cations to the anode and the usual active metal (Li) was replaced with Mg and/or Al.
The essential challenge of the project is the design of new nanostructured materials used as negative electrodes for the batteries. Two anodic materials will tested, one based on TiO2 (nanopowder and nanotubes) and the other on nanostructured inter-metallic compounds, such as NiSn, CoSn and CoSb in order to increase the specific surface area of the electrodes and to enhance battery performance through a more facile ion insertion. Due to being a more hospitable host for cations, cost effective and the well-known synthesis method for controlled structures, TiO2 use may prove to be a more lucrative option. Inter-metallic compounds, especially those based on Sn, are promising anode materials for Li-ion batteries and quite essential for the use of Mg as the active metal
The proposed electrolyte is an ionic liquid synthesized through the combination of a cation based on imidazolium with TFSI anions and mixed with ionic liquids based on Pyrrolidine (PY). Thus, the essential electrolyte conditions will be met (high conductivity, low viscosity, stabile electrochemical window and a sufficient negative value for the reduction potential).
In order to replace Li, new metals will be investigated, as Lithium is difficult to handle in normal conditions, has a relative high cost and does not meet the performance required for current technologies. Magnesium and Aluminum are possible alternative, considering their higher valence which gives them a distinct advantage to their capacity for higher energy density comparatively with their Lithium counterparts (1000, 1060 Wh/kg and 406 Wh/kg, respectively).
Other novelty elements associated with the present project are: (i) the structure of the obtained materials through electrochemical processes, such as TiO2 nanotubes and anodic inter-metallic compounds (ii) intercalating Mg/Al ions in the aforementioned materials (iii) using various “green” ionic liquids as electrolytes in baterries; (iv) battery prototype design and implementation. During experimental work, additional novel aspects will emerge; to name a few: the influence of metallic impurities, dendritic formation (mechanism, methods for growth inhibition, influence on charge/discharge cycles).
The application has a pronounced inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary character, as it requires skills from multiple fields – chemistry and physics (electricity), mechanical and thermical investigations, etc.