How to increase battery performance and life?  So far we’ve missed a key aspect

The results in this case were recently shown in the pages Energy and environmental sciences. Before proceeding with the conclusions made by the authors of the publication, it is worth first explaining how batteries work at all. The key to success is the transfer of charged ions between two materials, namely the electrodes. They are separated by an electrolyte in the form of a liquid or gel containing ions and other molecules. When the battery needs to be used up, a thin layer of particles forms on the surface of each electrode. It is referred to as SEI (Solid Electrolyte Interface).

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As explained by members of the research team, some problems occur due to the low reversibility of redox processes at the interface between the electrode and the electrolyte. They are caused by the presence of unstable, mechanically interacting SEI layers. The use of stable, inorganic SEIs can change the fate of batteries by isolating electron transfer, causing some ions to diffuse out and driving reversible cycles.

Both lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries have had problems with life and performance thus far

The problem mainly relates to battery electrolytes containing metal salts and organic solvents. In this configuration, reactions occur that lead to severe electrolyte consumption, uneven metal deposition, and reduced integrity of these batteries. In an effort to deal with the difficulties, scientists from Deakin University and Monash University analyzed the influence of the physico-chemical properties of the electrode on the formation mechanism of SEI with ionic liquids and sodium carbonate-based electrolytes. As they showed, thanks to their achievements, it was possible to prove that the interface structure of the electrolyte and the electrode, as well as the interfacial properties of the solid electrolyte line, are related to the dielectric nature of the electrode.

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In addition, members of the research team observed differences in the chemical composition of the interphase SEI, which depended on the charging conditions. In such conditions, we are talking about different chemical combinations resulting from the presence of a solvent or an anion. Further advancement of continuing experience should provide a number of practical benefits. The authors point out, among other things, the possibility of designing better batteries installed in electric vehicles, energy storage from renewable sources or portable devices. There is talk about the option of conducting electrocatalysis and recovering metals from waste.

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