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Finnish researchers develop promising Li-ion anode-cathode materials

17 February 2016

A novel synthesis technique developed at University of Eastern Finland opens up new possibilities for improving the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries.

A promising anode-cathode material pair developed by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland is lithium titanate countered by lithium iron phosphate

Materials currently used in Li-ion batteries are expensive; many of them, like lithium cobalt oxide (belonging to the EU Critical Raw Materials, CRMs), are difficult to handle and dispose of. Additionally, batteries using these materials have relatively short lifetimes.

New novel materials are being developed for next generation Li-ion batteries. One promising anode-cathode material pair is lithium titanate countered by lithium iron phosphate. The raw materials for these components are readily available; they are safe to use and easy to dispose of or recycle.

And most importantly, batteries manufactured using these materials have significantly longer cycle and calendar lifetimes compared with current battery technology. However, the main problem of these new materials is their low electrical conductivity.

Now, a study by University of Eastern Finland scientists has addressed this issue. “The electric conductivity problem can be solved by producing nanosized, high surface area crystalline materials, or by modifying the material composition with highly conductive dopants," says researcher, Tommi Karhunen. "We have succeeded in doing both for lithium titanate in a simple, one-step gas phase process developed here at the UEF Fine Particle and Aerosol Technology Laboratory.” 

“The electrochemical performance of Li-ion batteries made out of the above mentioned material is very promising," says Professor Jorma Jokiniemi, director of the Fine Particle and Aerosol Technology Laboratory. The most important applications lie in batteries featuring, for example, fast charging required for electric buses, or high power needed for hybrid and electric vehicles.” 

An article describing this work is published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

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