A recent research based on fossils can really help in deeper development of highly efficient battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as well as other portable electronics. At present, electric vehicles have a number of flaws that include restricted travel range due to lesser battery capabilities and costlier replacement costs.
Nevertheless, a group of engineers working at the University of California and Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering recently came up with a highly energy-efficient and cheaper method of silicon-based anodes creation for lithium-ion batteries, these batteries are embedded with simple silicon that is extracted from single-celled algae fossils. The same could definitely lead to some solutions for uplifting restrictions from battery electric vehicles.
Technically, electric vehicles use a large variety of battery types out of which Lithium-ion based batteries happens to be the most popular one. All batteries have an anode, an electrolyte, and a cathode while the most regular Li-ion batteries come with graphite that acts as anode material. But graphite’s performance proves to be a restricting point for efficient batteries. Silicon has already been proposed as an option for anode material as it is capable of storing around 10 times more energy. However, the production of silicon via previous methods of carbothermic reduction has proved to be a very costly one. This restricts its usage as an anode in most batteries.
The UCR team suggests that a Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can be an economical source of silicon. DE happens to be a silicon-rich sedimentary rock that is made up from fossilized remains from diatoms. The UCR team has been able to use this as source of Silicon Dioxide through a simple process known as magnesiothermic reduction; they were finally able to extract pure silicon nanoparticles from this process. The research was led by a professor of electrical engineering, Mihri Ozkan and Cengiz Ozkan, a mechanical engineering professor. These two were accompanied by Brennan Campbell who is a graduate student in engineering and materials science. The team also highlighted a fact that safe preservation of diatom cell walls can easily led to a severely porous anode that permits smooth flow of electrolyte.
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