In this Sustainable Energy Seminar, Dr. Eric Kazyak, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will discuss promising approaches and alternatives to current lithium-ion batteries than could address some of the challenges of this energy storage technology.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have dramatically changed the way we interact and communicate with the world. Nearly ubiquitous in phones, laptops, scooters, e-bikes, electric vehicles, and becoming increasingly common for grid-scale storage, these batteries enable high efficiency, reversible storage of electrical energy for use on-demand. Electrification/decarbonization of the transportation sector and enhancing grid storage to enable widespread use of intermittent renewable sources of electricity make battery storage a key enabling technology for combatting climate change. However, challenges with meeting ever-increasing energy density needs, fast charging, safety, and low cost are driving the search for alternative battery chemistries. In this talk, I will review the operating principles of rechargeable batteries, discuss key challenges facing Li-ion chemistries, and introduce several of the most promising approaches and alternatives for transportation and grid storage applications. These include interface modifications in LIBs for fast charging, solid-state Li metal batteries, and air batteries. These topics will be contextualized with the ongoing commercial activities in this space and future outlook.