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Soap cuts cost from LMP Li-ion batteries

US researchers are making high surface area flakes that could lead to better lithium ion batteries.

The technique can be applied to lithium manganese phosphate (LMP), a cheaper alternative to cobalt and nickel materials used in Li-ion cells.

“While cobalt oxide performs well in lithium batteries, cobalt and nickel are more expensive than manganese or iron. In addition, substituting phosphate for oxide provides a more stable structure for lithium,” claimed Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are already commercially available in some power tools and solar products, but synthesis of the electrode material is complicated.

Daiwon Choi at the PNNL has found a simple one-step process to make high surface area LMP flakes.

“Paraffin provides a medium in which to grow good electrode materials,” said Choi “This method will help researchers investigate cathode materials based on cheaper transition metals such as manganese or iron.”

LMP theoretically has a high energy density – 171mAh/gl, “but other investigators working with LMP have not even been able to eek out 120mAh/g so far”, said PNNL.
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