Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 39

System Identifies Battery Materials for Recycling
The Battery Identity Global Passport could be accessible as a scannable QR code or a
computer chip.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
he emergence and dominance of
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in markets
such as consumer electronics, electric
vehicles, and renewable energy storage
are driving enormous interest in the
battery sector. The growing demand is
generating a huge number of spent Liion
batteries, thereby urging the development
of cost-effective and environmentally
sustainable recycling technologies to
manage end-of-life batteries.
Scientists have devised a method to
identify the unique chemical makeup of
every Li-ion battery around the world -
information that could accelerate recycling,
recover critical materials, and re -
solve a growing waste stream.
Similar to how plastics are stamped
with a recycling code identifying their
make-up, Li-ion batteries could be encoded
with a Battery Identity Global Passport
that could be accessible as a scannable
QR code or a computer chip. This meth -
od could help recyclers more efficiently
locate in-demand materials and accommodate
the wide variety of designs used
to manufacture Li-ion batteries.
The passport can help recyclers contend
with the mixed stream of materials
since there currently is no standard cell
chemistry for Li-ion battery production.
For more information, contact Stephanie
G. Seay at seaysg@ornl.gov; 865-576-9894.
T
The proposed Battery Identity Global Passport suggests a scannable QR code or other tag affixed
to Li-ion batteries to identify materials for efficient end-of-life recycling. (Credit: Andy Sproles,
ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy)
Stable, Efficient, Anode-Free Sodium Battery
The battery is smaller than a traditional lithium-ion battery due to the elimination of dendrites.
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
he challenges of energy storage -
which require the capacity to bank an
intermittent and seasonally variable supply
of solar energy - have kept the technology
from being economically competitive.
Researchers have used low-cost
materials to create rechargeable batteries
that will make energy storage more
affordable. These materials could also
provide a safer and more environmentally
friendly alternative to lithium-ion
batteries that currently dominate the
market but are slow to charge and have
a knack for catching fire.
T
Tech Briefs, August 2021
Cov
The group previously demonstrated
the potential of zinc-anode batteries.
Now, they have employed a different
approach for incorporating aluminum,
resulting in rechargeable batteries that
offer up to 10,000 error-free cycles.
Only two elements are used for the
anode and the cathode - aluminum
and carbon - both of which are inexpensive
and environmentally friendly
with very long cycle life.
Among the advantages of aluminum is
that it is abundant in the Earth's crust, it
is trivalent and light, and it therefore has
www.techbriefs.com
ToC
a high capacity to store more energy
than many other metals. However, aluminum
can be tricky to integrate into a
battery's electrodes. It reacts chemically
with the glass fiber separator, which
physically divides the anode and the
cathode, causing the battery to short circuit
and fail.
The researchers' solution was to de sign
a substrate of interwoven carbon fi bers
that forms an even stronger chemical
bond with aluminum. When the battery is
charged, the aluminum is deposited into
the carbon structure via covalent bonding,
39
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

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