When it comes to batteries, graphene’s capabilities can be used in several ways.  Graphene is a material that has been touted for many applications, both low-tech and high-tech. Graphene can improve the surface area and electronic conductivity of the lithium-ion battery anode and cathode, thus started to gain a lot of attention and commercial viability in the small-scale energy storage systems, such as batteries. In this article, we are going to look at where graphene can be used in energy storage components.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Nanotech Energy, a battery and graphene technology start-up, claims to be ‘the world’s top supplier of graphene’. It plans to release a non-flammable, environmentally friendly lithium battery that can charge 18 times faster than any product currently available in the market. According to Nanotech Energy, these nanostructured electrodes (graphene) enable a new generation of lithium-ion batteries with excellent power density, exceptionally high energy density and long cycling life. A method that allows graphene to be coated on ‘any substrate’ along with a laser process step that forms a graphene foam. The company had originally applied its graphene technology to making better supercapacitors but now focuses on its ‘super battery’. The company recently closed a $27.5 million funding round.

Some claims made by the company:

  • Their product can charge 18X faster than anything currently available
  • It has very low resistance, which allows a quick charging and higher life cycle.
  • While a prominent battery can cycle 250 times before it degrades to 80% of its initial charge capacity, their battery will have a cycle life beyond around 2,000 cycles.
  • They are confident about the application of their architecture to any battery size and shape.

The performance of lithium-ion is improved by adding graphene to the electrode formulation. Inorganic-based electrodes generally have limitations in terms of density, conductivity, surface area, capacity, capacitance, or cycle times to name a few. Graphene is used to improve many of the benefits already present with conventional materials, but it also helps to overcome previous battery limitations, resulting in increased battery life or performance. Graphene is a versatile molecule possessing many unique and desirable properties, and it can be adopted in many ways.

With ever-increasing energy demands across the world, developing improved energy storage devices with reduced negative environmental impacts is a noble objective. In the future, graphene could be the material that replaces the lithium-ion batteries that the technology industry has become so reliant on for decades, only if Nanotech Energy can realize its claims of cycle life, charge time and energy densities.

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