MXene Combines Supercapacitor Tech With Large Format EV Batteries

AUG 15 2017 BY MARK KANE 30

Researchers in Drexel University’s College of Engineering are developing a new battery electrode design that will enable recharging in minutes…or even seconds.

350 kW CCS Combo 2 fast charger at Porsche Zentrum Berlin-Adlershof

The apparent key to solve the problem of uber-fast charging is to use a highly conductive, two-dimensional material called MXene. The team has demonstrated charging of thin MXene electrodes in tens of milliseconds.

At the same time, MXene will allow the storage of much more energy than conventional supercapacitors, (although the presser is silent about how much more). So for now it’s open question whether MXene has the potential to beat well known lithium–titanate chemistry.

For now we will keep it in the theoretical category for EV commercialization.

There could be plenty of applications for recharging in minutes (at least at an affordable price), but we are not sure whether we can sacrifice any range in a electric vehicle application to solve the high-power requirement for that kind of charging (5 minutes recharge of 50 kWh pack needs 600 kW of power).

“The key to faster charging energy storage devices is in the electrode design. Electrodes are essential components of batteries, through which energy is stored during charging and from which it is disbursed to power electronic devices. So the ideal design for these components would be one that allows them to be quickly charged and store more energy.

To store more energy, the materials should have places to put it. Electrode materials in batteries offer ports for charge to be stored. In electrochemistry, these ports, called “redox active sites” are the places that hold an electrical charge when each ion is delivered. So if the electrode material has more ports, it can store more energy — which equates to a battery with more “juice.”

Collaborators Patrice Simon, PhD, and Zifeng Lin, from Université Paul Sabatier in France, produced a hydrogel electrode design with more redox active sites, which allows it to store as much charge for its volume as a battery. This measure of capacity, termed “volumetric performance,” is an important metric for judging the utility of any energy storage device.

To make those plentiful hydrogel electrode ports even more attractive to ion traffic, the Drexel-led team, including researchers Maria Lukatskaya, PhD, Sankalp Kota, a graduate student in Drexel’s MAX/MXene Research Group led by Michel Barsoum, PhD, distinguished professor in the College of Engineering; and Mengquiang Zhao, PhD, designed electrode architectures with open macroporosity — many small openings — to make each redox active sites in the MXene material readily accessible to ions.

“In traditional batteries and supercapacitors, ions have a tortuous path toward charge storage ports, which not only slows down everything, but it also creates a situation where very few ions actually reach their destination at fast charging rates,” said Lukatskaya, the first author on the paper, who conducted the research as part of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute. “The ideal electrode architecture would be something like ions moving to the ports via multi-lane, high-speed ‘highways,’ instead of taking single-lane roads. Our macroporous electrode design achieves this goal, which allows for rapid charging — on the order of a few seconds or less.”

The overarching benefit of using MXene as the material for the electrode design is its conductivity. Materials that allow for rapid flow of an electrical current, like aluminum and copper, are often used in electric cables. MXenes are  conductive, just like metals, so not only do ions have a wide-open path to a number of storage ports, but they can also move very quickly to meet electrons there. Mikhael Levi, PhD, and Netanel Shpigel, research collaborators from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, helped the Drexel group maximize the number of the ports accessible to ions in MXene electrodes.

Use in battery electrodes is just the latest in a series of developments with the MXene material that was discovered by researchers in Drexel’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011. Since then, researchers have been testing them in a variety of applications from energy storage to electromagnetic radiation shielding, and water filtering. This latest development is significant in particular because it addresses one of the primary problems hindering the expansion of the electric vehicle market and that has been lurking on the horizon for mobile devices.

“If we start using low-dimensional and electronically conducting materials as battery electrodes, we can make batteries working much, much faster than today,” Gogotsi said. “Eventually, appreciation of this fact will lead us to car, laptop and cell-phone batteries capable of charging at much higher rates — seconds or minutes rather than hours.””

source: Drexel University

Categories: Battery Tech, Charging


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30 Comments on "MXene Combines Supercapacitor Tech With Large Format EV Batteries"

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“Collaborators Patrice Simon, PhD, and Zifeng Lin, from Université Paul Sabatier in France, produced a hydrogel electrode design…”

What is lacking here is any claim that they have a working prototype. So it looks like it’s just a design which works in a computer simulation.

This is about like a baseball player walking up to home plate, taking a practice swing then bragging about the home run he’s gonna make.

Nothing to see here; move along, move along!

I would like to expand on your baseball analogy:

… baseball player walking up to home plate (knowing that he has encountered that same pitcher on many occasions and he was able to hit the ball out of the park 95% of the time), taking a practice swing then bragging about the home run he’s gonna make.

You’re suggesting they have a 95% chance of hitting a home run, which would be making a commercial product better than batteries being used in current cellphones and EVs?

You’re so young.

In the approximately 9 years since I’ve been following battery tech, starting back in 2008 on the now-defunct TheEEStory forum, there has been a breathless announcement of a breakthrough battery tech about once every two weeks. And in all those years, the only announcement which has been followed by a better commercial battery is LG Chem’s lower-cost (and perhaps slightly better depth-of-discharge) li-ion cells.

That comes to a “batting average” of about 0.0043… rather far from the 0.95 you claim!

“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technologies, please send us a sample cell, okay, don’t send us PowerPoint. Just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats; that would be great. That… sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true. Talk is super cheap; the battery industry has to have more B.S. in it than any industry I’ve ever encountered. It’s insane.” — Elon Musk, Nov. 5, 2014

Brilliant, Pushmi-Pullyu

Edison made comment about liars and battery salesmen, that was quite a while ago.

Indeed. It seems that nothing has changed about the lack of honesty in the rechargeable battery industry in 134 years!

“The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies. The storage battery is one of those peculiar things which appeals to the imagination, and no more perfect thing could be desired by stock swindlers than that very selfsame thing. … Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery it brings out his latent capacity for lying.”

— Thomas Edison, 1883

“TheEEStory” … I’m still convinced they’re going into production any time now.


Awesome. 🙂

😀 😀 😀

And the day after, Andrea Rossi will finally start selling his E-Cat perpetual motion machine LENR reactor!

I think you chose an unfortunate analogy, though a possible one as show by the famous “called shot” of Babe Ruth.
So closer to PMPU’s .0043

“So it looks like it’s JUST a design which works in a computer simulation.”

I think I found the flaw in your logic.

If you have evidence to the contrary, then please present it!

Could it be time for an open source battery project.

The idea sounds cool, and would benefit the world. But…

I think that is difficult due to many factors.
It is specialised, needs expensive test equipment, expensive production equipment and so on.
People with the skills needed are normally already working for a university, that require a cut from potential profit and patents, or they work for a company that owns everything their employees develops.

Legal problems would happen if these people start and share their knowledge, and potentially use knowledge that they have from a university or a private company.
The legal contract a scientist or a professor have to sign are more and more complex today, then it used to be. It is to insure income for a university or stop a company from loosing their exclusive knowledge for example.

If they can make a solid state battery, with fairly high energy density, at a competitive price – EVs are going to get an even greater boost.
Would have been cool if all manufacturers had state of the art battery technology, and could use the same chargers.

The formula contains titanium. Toshiba has titanate batteries that charge and discharge fast, but the energy density is not as good as NMC.

I remember those batteries from projects a few years back – yes capacity is not great, but they can be recharged tens of thousands of times.

About half the energy density but great power density. Altainano started the idea and still makes large format lithium titanate cells.

Another day, another company claiming to have the somewhat holy grail of batteries.

Those kind of research are dime and dozen in almost all major universities. That is their job. To research and find the next “magic”. Nothing is wrong with that. That is what they should do.

Those kind of “Press release” are often done hoping to gain more research funding that is necessary and important to keep it alive. It is no different than start up companies making claims at changing the world in hope for seed money or angel investors. That is also normal.

The only thing is that those kind of research will take years if not decades to result in anything if ever. That is just concept to prototype alone. From there also faces various issues in terms of reliability, cost, manufacturing issues…etc.

Nothing wrong with covering the technology but we shouldn’t get all that excited. It might be our kids’ generation to benefit with the actual product/design when it does come out if ever.

Dead on. Science is so complex these days that individual research papers, PhD dissertations, MS Thesis, etc rarely ever move much of a needle in and of themselves. Generally it is a long series of things over several years and in perhaps dozens of universities that moves the fundamental research forward in a way that is necessary for it to reach a point where an aha breakthrough happens. I was the outside committee member awhile back for an electrical engineering MS where the student’s thesis was transparent solar panels. The obvious implication is that if you could do that and control it, the world’s windows would suddenly become solar panels, filtering out stuff like UV rays while converting it to energy. Cool right? Well as far as I could tell the student made a single sample and measured it once and the whole thing was rather anti-climatic. But his departmental committee was aghast at my lack of enthusiasm and was adamant that it was so good that the student had received further research funding and was starting his PhD to further the topic in the fall. I thought he did a thing, didn’t complete it, and it didn’t seem like… Read more »

Well, the overall goal is that when you have enough “talents” (MS and PhD researchers) thrown into the field combined with enough money, soon or later some amazing discoveries will happen and we will benefit as a society overall.

That is the point of early research grants. If we already know something works good enough for prototypes and all we need is time and money to make it a real product, then private companies with big cash hoards would have invested in it to accelerate them into products…

Well said, MMF.

Most basic scientific research leads nowhere. That doesn’t mean we should stop supporting basic scientific research; it just means that most of the easy discoveries have already been made.

It’s wonderful that we have so many university research teams and private company startups working hard to find the next breakthru battery tech. Hopefully one of them will eventually hit a home run!

Here is a recent article about one project which has at least gotten safely to first base, and is eyeing second:

BlueIndy and BlueLA with the Bellore EV also combine a Lithium battery and Super Capacitor . It seems like the perfect match up for better range, better regen and longer battery life. o

The integration of a battery with a vehicle is itself a dead end.

Great, who can install me a 85*60 = 5100kW charter in my Garage please?

I’m sorry, but I had to stop reading when it mentioned a “two dimensional material”.
Look, even if it’s one atom thick, it’s three dimensional.

Do atoms have thickness? If you think of particles in the Bohr manner as tiny little electron spheres orbiting a nucleus of proton and neutron spheres bound tightly together, then yes. In a QED sense, not so much. It gets down to definitions, doesn’t it?

While you are technically correct, materials such as graphene are often described in the industry as “two-dimensional”. So that description doesn’t indicate it’s fake.

In fact, some sort of “two dimensional” material, such as graphene, is precisely what is needed to increase the surface area of battery cell electrodes, and thus significantly reduce their resistance so they can be charged very quickly without overheating.

That’s the tech we need to make EVs that can, at least in theory, be recharged as fast as filling up a gasmobile’s fuel tank.

Elon said it well during the conference call.

Something like “Send us a cell to test or STFU.”

“Researchers at Some University” blah blah “battery breakthrough” blah blah.

When there’s a factory making it, I will care. Until then, it’s almost certainly going nowhere, with enormous drawbacks preventing it from reaching the light of day without an additional 10-15 years of research.

Surely you must know this by now, having read some 500 of these press releases so far?