JUN 05 2019

CIC energiGUNE collaborates in the research project to reduce battery degradation using self-ordering material

CIC energiGUNE collaborates in the research project to reduce battery degradation using self-ordering material
  • The work, led by the Japanese researcher Atsuo Yamada, has made it possible to obtain a material with a disordered structure which "self-orders" during battery charging, and reverts to its original structure after discharge.
  • Use of this material in lithium and sodium batteries will enable battery storage capacity to be increased whilst simultaneously reducing battery degradation.

The possibility of using "self-ordering" materials to manufacture batteries of higher storage capacity and reduced degradation through use has taken a step nearer to becoming a reality, thanks to the study conducted by the Japanese researcher Atsuo Yamada from the University of Tokyo. The findings of the study published in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications, and in which CIC energiGUNE has taken active part through its researchers Marine Reynaud and Montse Casas-Cabanas, lay the ground for a new way of designing materials for batteries, 

CIC energiGUNE's involvement in this project, in which the Institute for Solid State Chemistry Bordeaux has also collaborated, has been focused on developing a specific X-ray diffraction analysis programme. On an international level, the Basque Research Centre is one of the few organisations capable of providing this type of service, making its contribution crucial to the project.

As Montse Casas-Cabanas, researcher at CIC energiGUNE and the person responsible for this part of the project, explains: “Our collaboration in this project is the result of our knowledge and experience in the structural and microstructural characterization of battery materials, and in particular of the FAULTS program developed by us in partnership with Dr. Juan Rodriguez-Carvajal of the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France”. 

According to Dr. Casas-Cabanas, the study material of this publication is characterised by its layered structure, i.e. atoms are organised in different layers stacked on top of each other, like Lego bricks. However, instead of being perfectly stacked, the layers of atoms are slightly displaced on top of each other, forming what are known as "planar defects" and resulting in a disordered structure. Analysis of this type of disordered structure requires a specific methodology, different from the one generally used in the vast majority of material studies.

Atomic choreography.

The specific contribution of CIC energiGUNE in this project has been to study the reaction mechanism of the material selected. As Montse Casas-Cabanas adds: “Our FAULTS software and analysis have enabled us to observe and understand this mechanism for the first time. This is a new mechanism that involves self-ordering of the structure during the process of charging the battery, and which is also reversible, as battery discharge triggers a return to the original disordered structure”. For Dr. Casas-Cabanas, the process of ordering-disordering can be defined as “atomic choreography”. 

Thus, the process increases the capacity of the material - which increases energy storage capacity - and aids reversibility of the reaction, which reduces unit degradation. The CIC energiGUNE researcher concludes: "This ability to self-organize represents a new strategy for the design of new electrode materials that will enable the energy storage capacity of lithium and sodium batteries to be increased".

About CIC energiGUNE

CIC energiGUNE is the leading research centre in Europe in the field of energy storage. The centre, a strategic initiative in this field of the Department of Economic Development and Infrastructures of the Basque Government, is also supported by the Provincial Government of Álava and the Basque Energy Agency. All the leading companies in the energy and storage sector in the Basque Country (Iberdrola, Cegasa Portable Energy, Sener, Siemens-Gamesa, Ormazabal, Idom, Solarpack, Mondragón Corporation and Nortegas) are represented on the governance board of the organisation. 

In addition, CIC energiGUNE is the reference laboratory for energy storage in southern Europe, with its unique facilities including prototyping and testing infrastructures for electrical (including batteries for automotive solid state) and thermal storage. It has published extensively in scientific journals (over 500 publications) and participates in more than 35 industrial projects per year.

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