Researchers discover hydrogen treatment brings better batteries

It could mean longer-lasting, faster-charging batteries for gadgets, electric cars

Jianchao Ye, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, shows off an improved lithium ion battery. Credit: Julie Russell/LLNL

Jianchao Ye, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, shows off an improved lithium ion battery. Credit: Julie Russell/LLNL

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered lithium ion batteries can last longer and charge faster if their electrodes are treated with hydrogen.

The breakthrough could lead to significant improvements in the performance of the batteries, which are commonly used in smartphones, digital cameras, electric cars and home energy storage systems.

Batteries have positive and negative electrodes and electrons flow between them when the battery is providing electricity or being charged. In lithium ion batteries, the binding between lithium ions and the electrode material helps determine the performance of the battery.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) research focused on graphene electrodes and the scientists discovered that by treating them with hydrogen, defects in the graphene could be used to their advantage. Interaction of the two opened small gaps in the coating that mean better binding between the electrode and lithium ions, and that means better performance.

Using their new electrodes, charging rates are up to 40 percent faster, said Morris Wang, one of the engineers who worked on the research. It is detailed in the Nov. 5 issue of Nature Scientific Reports.

151106 llnl li ion battery Julie Russell/LLNL

From left,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory postdoc Jianchao Ye works on a lithium ion battery, while Morris Wang looks on. The two are part of a team studying the use of hydrogen for longer-lasting batteries

There's lots to do before the work finds its way into commercial batteries, but Wang said initial research indicates less energy waste during charging and higher power output.

He also said the team expects the new batteries will last longer, although is reluctant to put a figure on that until proper testing has been done. The improved battery life will be determined by a number of factors, but Wang said it could be from 10 percent to 40 percent better.

Batteries are a major area of research for many institutes and companies because they have become one of the most important parts of our modern lives. Battery life is just as important in determining the performance of a portable gadget as the chips that go inside and battery technology has been advancing more slowly than other components.

Lithium ion batteries are also being used in electric vehicles, where charging and range are important factors, so any advance that improves performance has the potential to be very important.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?