How Can Lead Anodes Increase the Capacity of Lithium Batteries?

All kinds of materials qualify when it comes to expanding the existing capabilities of current lithium-ion batteries. These include salt, silicon, and even microwaved plastics. Due to their abundance, cheaper costs, and familiarity with battery systems, lead anodes hold a lot of appeal. Scientists have only begun to explore how this material can form a new lithium battery anode that could offer significantly higher storage capacities than its predecessors.

What is an Anode?

An anode is one of the two electrodes found in a lithium battery. It contains lithium-ions that are charged thoroughly and then released during discharge. Graphite happens to be the ideal choice for use in electroplating anodes, and it also serves them quite well. It stays stable across several charging cycles. However, scientists all over the world are researching ways to increase its overall storage capacity. A team at Argonne National Laboratory has been working tirelessly to explore the potential of lead when it comes to lithium-ion batteries.

  • Lead is a common material used in lead-acid batteries, one of the oldest rechargeable batteries out there.
  • Their lead supply chain is well established. They have several systems to ensure that the material is recycled fully at the end of its lifecycle.

As the laboratory team thoroughly researched the capabilities of lead anodes for electroplating and expanding the storage of batteries, they also observed that it is relatively cheaper and easily accessible. This is what led the team to explore this element for potential use in lithium-ion batteries. They received promising early results.

How the Experiment Went

In order to figure out whether or not lead-based anodes increased the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, scientists ran a series of experiments. These experiments were conducted in their research facility. They began with large lead-oxide particles that they then combined with a carbon-based powder, which they shook for several hours. This allowed the particles to be converted into much smaller and even microscopic particles embedded in a carbon matrix. These minuscule particles in a carbon matrix were then encapsulated within a thin lead-oxide shell.

They thoroughly tested lead anodes in battery cells in a controlled research facility. The results showed that these batteries had twice the energy storage available than conventional graphite anodes with more than 100 charging cycles. These lead-based batteries also remained perfectly stable throughout the entire testing process. The research team was quickly able to enhance the overall performance levels of this battery. They did this by incorporating fluoroethylene carbonate into the overall electrolyte solution that is responsible for carrying the charge of the battery.

These researchers believe that this changes how we view any electrode material out there. This is a cost-effective and high-performance material, and it acts as an incredible storage expander.

Reach out to learn more about lead anodes, what they do for lithium-ion batteries, and to speak to one of our experts.

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