Zhongwei Chen, a chemical engineering professor at Waterloo, and a team of graduate students have created a low-cost battery using silicon that boosts the performance and life of lithium-ion batteries. As lithium-ion batteries improve, traditional negative electrodes graphite is slowly becoming a performance bottleneck because of the limited amount of energy that it can store. While researchers found that silicon anode materials have a much higher capacity for lithium and are capable of producing batteries with almost 10 times more energy.
Professor Chen's team developed a flash heat treatment for fabricated silicon-based lithium-ion electrodes that minimizes volume expansion while boosting the performance and cycle capability of lithium-ion batteries. This silicon battery technology promises a 40% to 60% increase in energy density, which is important for consumers with smartphones, smart homes and smart wearable devices. The environmentally safe technology could also make dramatic improvements for hybrid and electric vehicles by extending continue voyage course to 500 kilometers.