The demand for energy production and storage increases as the global population grows. In order to reach the goal of a fossil-free society batteries and supercapacitors need to become more sustainable. Researches from around the world participated at “Graphene Battery Workshop” – arranged by SIO Graphene, Uppsala University and Battery 2030+ – to discuss graphene’s role in sustainable future batteries.
Matching graphene and silicon
There are a number of ways to apply graphene in batteries. For example, researchers at Chalmers are working with lithium-sulphur batteries, using a catholyte with the help of a graphene sponge. 2D fab’s approach on the other hand is to use graphene as a means to change the energy carries from graphite to silicon as anode material in lithium-ion batteries. This allows greater energy capacity possibilities since silicon can store more energy than graphite can.
– Silicon offers very low electrical conductivity. This, however, is not a problem since graphene has very high electrical conductivity, compensating for silicon’s deficiencies in this area, Sven Forsberg explained at Graphene Battery Workshop.
Another known problem with silicon in batteries is that silicon undergoes major volume changes during charging and discharging. Graphene is likely to be the solution to this as well, since its strong structures minimizes the effects of silicon’s expansion.
Cost-efficiency – a key aspect
2D fab’s method to produce silicon-graphene anodes is cost-efficient and compatible with commercial fabrication methods.
– We have a number of ways to manufacture the silicon nanoparticles needed in this type of anode materia, keeping the costs down. Graphene also enables a more energy-efficient and cheap production of the anodes themselves, based on paper manufacturing technology, which is a key aspect for practically all industrial production processes, explained Sven Forsberg.