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Power Science Technology

Boosting Battery Storage With Seaweed 59

New submitter cartman writes "A substance found in brown algae, 'including the type which forms forests of giant kelp,' could be used to increase the storage capacity of batteries, according to scientists at Georgia Tech (abstract). The substance, called alginate, allows silicon particles in the anode to swell without damaging the anode, thereby increasing storage capacity of batteries by up to a factor of 10. 'The full potential of a silicon anode can't be exploited until researchers develop a matching cathode capable of handling the same amount of lithium ions. But even with existing cathodes, alginate-silicon anodes could increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 30 to 40 percent, according to Yushin.'"
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Boosting Battery Storage With Seaweed

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  • by Jack Malmostoso ( 899729 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @03:02AM (#37383998)

    Silicon anodes have been under study for many years now, and most researchers gave up when they figured out that the usual binder used in Li-ion batteries (poly vinilene difluoride, PVDF) did not work well with silicon. A couple of years ago people found out that using carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) actually allowed to cycle silicon for hundreds of charges/discharges without significant capacity fading, so the research in the field boomed again and now Sony is commercializing the first examples of batteries with Si as negative electrode.
    It's all about the engineering, and since silicon has proved that the binder is a more important piece of the Li-ion technology than previously expected, these news are actually very welcome.

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