Georgia Tech researchers develop aluminum-foil-based anodes for all-solid-state Li-ion batteries

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, led by Matthew McDowell, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering, is using an aluminum-foil-based anode in a solid-state Li-ion battery to create batteries with higher energy density and greater stability. The new battery system is detailed in an open-access paper in Nature Communications.

The project began as a collaboration between the Georgia Tech team and Novelis, a leading manufacturer of aluminum and the world’s largest aluminum recycler, as part of the Novelis Innovation Hub at Georgia Tech. The research team knew that aluminum would have energy, cost, and manufacturing benefits when used as a material in the battery’s anode, but pure aluminum foils were failing rapidly when tested in batteries.

Instead of using pure aluminum in the foils, the researchers added small amounts of other materials to the aluminum to create foils with particular microstructures. They tested more than 100 different materials to understand how they would behave in batteries.

The team observed that the aluminum anode could store more lithium than conventional anode materials, and therefore more energy. In the end, they had created high energy density batteries that could potentially outperform lithium-ion batteries.

“One of the benefits of our aluminum anode that we’re excited about is that it enables performance improvements, but it also can be very cost-effective. On top of that, when using a foil directly as a battery component, we actually remove a lot of the manufacturing steps that would normally be required to produce a battery material”, states Matthew McDowell.

The team is currently working to scale up the size of the batteries to understand how size influences the aluminum’s behavior. The group is also actively exploring other materials and microstructures with the goal of creating very cheap foils for battery systems.


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