Researchers at PNNL have come up with a novel way to use silicon as an energy storage ingredient, replacing the graphite in electrodes. Silicon can hold 10 times the electrical charge per gram, but it comes with problems of its own.
The Energy Storage System Safety and Reliability Forum at PNNL brought together more than 120 energy storage experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, the national laboratories, utilities, industry and academia.
Scientists have uncovered a root cause of the growth of needle-like structures—known as dendrites and whiskers—that plague lithium batteries, sometimes causing a short circuit, failure, or even a fire.
PNNL researchers demonstrate how the excitation of oxygen atoms that contributes to better performance of a lithium-ion battery also triggers a process that leads to damage, explaining a phenomenon that has been a mystery to scientists.
Researchers apply numerical simulations to understand more about a sturdy material and how its basic structure responds to and resists radiation. The outcomes could help guide development of the resilient materials of the future.