Report

A Major Constituent of Brown Algae for Use in High-Capacity Li-Ion Batteries

Science  07 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6052, pp. 75-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.1209150

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Abstract

The identification of similarities in the material requirements for applications of interest and those of living organisms provides opportunities to use renewable natural resources to develop better materials and design better devices. In our work, we harness this strategy to build high-capacity silicon (Si) nanopowder–based lithium (Li)–ion batteries with improved performance characteristics. Si offers more than one order of magnitude higher capacity than graphite, but it exhibits dramatic volume changes during electrochemical alloying and de-alloying with Li, which typically leads to rapid anode degradation. We show that mixing Si nanopowder with alginate, a natural polysaccharide extracted from brown algae, yields a stable battery anode possessing reversible capacity eight times higher than that of the state-of-the-art graphitic anodes.

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