Challenges and Opportunities of Electrical Energy Storage Technologies

Electrical energy stored in batteries, particularly lithium-ion batteries, powers most of the modern portable electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops. Batteries are also being pursued intensively for electric vehicles and stationary storage of electricity produced by renewable sources like solar and wind. However, their adoption for transportation and stationary storage applications requires significant reduction in cost, long cycle life, increase in energy and power, and improvement in safety, which are in turn controlled by the component materials used in batteries. Clearly, development of new materials for existing battery technologies or new battery chemistries at an affordable cost with long life is needed to address our future energy needs. Accordingly, after providing an overview of the current status, this presentation will focus on the development of the next generation of electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries as well as new battery chemistries such as sodium-ion batteries and dual-electrolyte lithium-air batteries.

Specifically, high-capacity, high-voltage oxide and high-capacity sulfur cathodes as well as safe nano-engineered alloy anodes for lithium-ion batteries will be first presented, emphasizing the importance of optimizing the surface and bulk structures and novel cell configurations to overcome the persistent problems in the field. Sodium is more abundant than lithium, so development of electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries will then be presented. Finally, dual-electrolyte lithium-air cells in which the lithium anode in an organic electrolyte is separated by a solid electrolyte from the air electrode in an aqueous catholyte solution will be presented.

Arumugam Manthiram is currently the Joe C. Walter Chair in Engineering and Director of the Texas Materials Institute and the Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Challenges and Opportunities of Electrical Energy Storage Technologies

Related Links
Powering the Future
This is a four-part documentary series presented by biologist M. Sanjayan, forecasting the world of energy in the not-too-distant future.
Batteries for the Future
Increased demand for energy storage in consumer electronics, electric vehicles and the power grid presents opportunities and challenges for rechargeable battery research and development.
Reinventing Batteries
Batteries are needed everywhere, for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and large-scale energy storage on the electrical grid.
Nanomaterials for Batteries and Energy Storage
Yi Cui, associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, discusses designing nanomaterials for energy storage, including batteries and supercapacitors.