New Lithium Metal Batteries ‘Build Themselves’
Lithium metal batteries are capable of doubling the capacity of today's standard lithium-ion cells. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found that lithium metal batteries can be built utilizing a lot of the current battery manufacturing system, removing a major challenge for automakers in producing electric vehicles. Lithium metal is reactive and weak, making it very difficult to handle and integrate into batteries, especially using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. The University of Michigan team found a workaround that essentially allows the battery to build itself. Their approach harnesses the lithium already contained within common cathode materials. When the battery is charged for the first time, the lithium ions on the cathode side of the cell are extracted and moved to the anode side of the cell, effectively synthesizing a lithium metal anode.