Alternative Electrode Materials: Batteries Essay

Alternative Electrode Materials: Batteries Essay

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One of the greatest challenges in the twenty-first century is undoubtedly energy storage. The depletion of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels is inevitable. This can be simply arrived at due to the fact that it is a finite resource. Additionally, the rate of generation of fossil fuels far exceeds the rate of its depletion so much so that it is negligible in comparison. Thus the world today has been forced to search for a better energy source. According to Chen(2013), “Batteries are crucial to solve this problem [the energy crisis] as they can efficiently store electricity in chemicals and release it according to demand”(p. 156). Furthermore, the batteries used currently do not meet the demands of modern society, such as the need for reliable and safe power sources for a large variety of portable consumer electronic devices. According to Bruce(2005), “The performance of these devices depends intimately on the properties of their materials.”(p. 366). One of the major breakthroughs in the research for better battery materials includes the invention of the Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Scrosati(2000)states, “Further breakthroughs in materials, not incremental changes, hold the key to new generations of energy storage and conversion devices” (p. 167). The main components of a battery are the electrodes, and the materials used for these electrodes have the greatest impact on the performance of the battery. Therefore, the essential question is: which materials used in the electrodes will yield to the most battery life?

The history behind the creation of the lithium-ion battery is as follows. Schalkwijk (2002) provides the reason behind why lithium was the chosen material for the battery, “(i) Lithium has the lightest wei...

... middle of paper ...

...h various carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous compounds are presently under study, their performances are still to be fully ascertained, which makes graphite the most likely to be the anode of choice for the next few years. Economic and environmental costs can be reduced by the replacing of Cobalt with Nickel or Manganese in the cathode structure. Manganese provides a potential lower cost and has a less damaging impact on the environment in comparison with Cobalt and Nickel. Thus, Manganese will be the most likely to be used in the cathode. Furthermore, the batteries durability and reliability can be enhanced by replacing the liquid-like electrolyte with a plastic membrane which may act as both the separator and the electrolyte. Lithium ion batteries continue to be the object of intense research with the aim of further improving their properties and characteristics.

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