Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have used aluminum foil-based negative electrodes with engineered microstructures in an all-solid-state lithium-ion cell assembly. They have reported hundreds of stable cycles with practically relevant range capacity at high current densities.
Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US have developed lab-scale lithium-ion battery cells with solderless aluminum foil-based negative electrodes with improved energy density and stability.
“This is the story of a material that was known for a long time but was largely abandoned in early battery development,” said Associate Professor Matthew McDowell. “But with new knowledge and new technology – the solid-state battery – we’ve determined how we can innovate the idea and achieve really promising results.”
Instead of using pure aluminum for the films, which would quickly fail when tested in batteries, the research team added small amounts of other materials to the aluminum to create films with specific “microstructures,” or arrangements of different materials. They tested more than 100 different materials to understand how they would behave in batteries.
The new aluminum foil anode showed significantly better performance and stability when implemented in solid-state batteries compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries. Laboratory-scale cells produce hundreds of stable cycles with practically relevant areal capacities at high current densities (6.5 mA cm−2)
“One of the benefits of our aluminum anode that we’re excited about is that it allows us to improve performance, but it can also be very cost-effective,” McDowell said. “Furthermore, by using the film directly as a battery component, we actually eliminate a lot of the manufacturing steps normally required to make battery material.”
The project began as a collaboration between the Georgia Tech team and Atlanta-based aluminum manufacturer and recycler Novelis. The researchers are now working to increase the size of the batteries to understand how size affects the behavior of aluminum.