Researchers at Rice University in the United States have discovered a way to squeeze some more value out of lithium-ion battery technology. Experimenting with alternative materials, they built a composite electrode from gilsonite and graphene. The first is a derivative of asphalt, the second is known for its conductive properties - the combination of the two helped make a useful discovery.
A gilsonite and graphene tube was coated with lithium by electrochemical deposition to form an anode. It was paired with a carbon sulphide cathode - a new type of battery called asphalt-lithium was obtained. It is distinguished by an unprecedented capacity due to the porous structure of the asphalt component. The experimental sample has a specific power of 1322 W per 1 kg of mass and an energy density of 943 Wh / kg. In this case, the current density in it reaches 20 mA per square meter. cm, which means that such a battery recharges much faster than a traditional lithium-ion battery.
Fragments of asphalt-lithium anodes under an electron microscope
After 500 charge / discharge cycles, the inventors deduced the average time to complete the process: 5 minutes - instead of the usual 2-3 hours. But that's not all - scientists from Rice University did not just start working with asphalt, they had previously found that the use of carbon-based materials minimizes the risk of parasitic dendrites in the battery. These lithium "tentacles" can stretch between the electrodes and cause short circuits, even spontaneous combustion. Asphalt helps eliminate this problem.
The last argument is that the production of electrodes from asphalt will be much cheaper than growing carbon nanotubes. Capacious, fast-charging, inexpensive, without the risk of short circuits. Perhaps, humanity dreams of such batteries.