Case 14615

Aligned Carbon Nanofiber/Nanotube Electrodes for Energy Storage Devices

Keywords:

Aligned carbon nanofibers (CNF), gravimetric energy density, binder-free, electrodes

Applications:

Lithium-air batteries, electrochemical capacitors, portable consumer electronics, hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicles

Problem:
  • Li-ion batteries have low gravimetric capacities (typically 1000-4000 mAh/gcarbon)
  • Tortuous pore structure limit the accessibility of electrolyte to available carbon surface area and can choke off electrolyte transport pathways during discharge
  • Require the addition of polymeric, insulating binder material to improve mechanical integrity of electrodes and ensure good electrical connection between particles

Technology:

This invention proposes the synthesis of MWCNT electrodes for Lithium-Air batteries. Lithium-Air batteries consist of a Li metal cathode, an organic electrolyte, and a high-surface carbon anode. During discharge, Li ions migrate to the anode and combine with electrons and molecular oxygen to form solid LixO2. MWCNT electrodes can also be used in non-aqueous electrochemical capacitors.

Advantages:
  • Theoretical gravimetric energy density is 3-5 times higher than Li-ion.
  • Well developed and highly interconnected pore structure.
  • Binder-free electrodes for lithium-air electrodes lower the weight of electrodes while maximizing the accessible carbon surface area exposed to electrolyte.
  • Process is adaptable to porous substrates with larger available surface areas (such as a metal mesh or carbon paper).
  • Convenient for manufacturing and cell assembly.

Inventors:

Intellectual Property:

US Patent Application 13/097244 filed on 4/29/2011

Publications:

MIT news coverage

Related Cases:

14330: Stacked Controlled-Cell Power Conversion Architecture for Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems

14172: Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction and Evolution in Li-AIR Batteries

Last revised: March 1, 2012

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