Breakthrough in battery technology

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells that are providing practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced electric vehicles.

In Nature Communications Los Alamos researchers Chung, Zelenay and Won describe a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst. This new material has the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. This activity is critical for efficient storage of electrical energy.

“These findings could help forge a path between nanostructured-carbon-based materials and alkaline fuel cells, metal-air batteries and certain electrolyzers,” said Zelenay. “A lithium-air secondary battery, potentially the most-promising metal-air battery known, has an energy storage potential that is 10 times greater than a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery. Consequently, the new catalyst makes possible the creation of economical lithium-air batteries that could power electric vehicles, or provide efficient, reliable energy storage for intermittent sources of green energy, such as windmills or solar panels.”

A very promising breakthrough that we will keep an eye on.

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