the anode electrodes,” he explained. “We replaced graphite in the anodes with our new nanosilicon material derived from waste glass bottles. In the half-cell configuration, our batteries demonstrate performance about four times higher compared to graphite anode batteries.”
To create the anodes, the team used a three-step process. First, they crushed and grinded the glass—derived from a bottle at a Starbucks—into a fine white powder, then used a magnesiothermic reduction to transform the silicon dioxide into nanostructured silicon. Finally, researchers coated the silicon nanoparticles with carbon to improve their stability and energy-storage properties.
The team plans to continue its work to improve the technology for commercial use, as well as explore other eco-friendly battery chemistries and materials.
“We currently scaled up the battery manufacturing process in our laboratories to pouch scale, which is the format for applications in consumable electronics and electric vehicles,” Mihri Ozkan said.
In the meantime, the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent application for their latest inventions.
Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.