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Title: Batteries: Overview of Battery Cathodes

The very high theoretical capacity of lithium (3829 mAh/g) provided a compelling rationale from the 1970's onward for development of rechargeable batteries employing the elemental metal as an anode. The realization that some transition metal compounds undergo reductive lithium intercalation reactions reversibly allowed use of these materials as cathodes in these devices, most notably, TiS{sub 2}. Another intercalation compound, LiCoO{sub 2}, was described shortly thereafter but, because it was produced in the discharged state, was not considered to be of interest by battery companies at the time. Due to difficulties with the rechargeability of lithium and related safety concerns, however, alternative anodes were sought. The graphite intercalation compound (GIC) LiC{sub 6} was considered an attractive candidate but the high reactivity with commonly used electrolytic solutions containing organic solvents was recognized as a significant impediment to its use. The development of electrolytes that allowed the formation of a solid electrolyte interface (SEI) on surfaces of the carbon particles was a breakthrough that enabled commercialization of Li-ion batteries. In 1990, Sony announced the first commercial batteries based on a dual Li ion intercalation system. These devices are assembled in the discharged state, so that it is convenient to employ a prelithiated cathodemore » such as LiCoO{sub 2} with the commonly used graphite anode. After charging, the batteries are ready to power devices. The practical realization of high energy density Li-ion batteries revolutionized the portable electronics industry, as evidenced by the widespread market penetration of mobile phones, laptop computers, digital music players, and other lightweight devices since the early 1990s. In 2009, worldwide sales of Li-ion batteries for these applications alone were US$ 7 billion. Furthermore, their performance characteristics (Figure 1) make them attractive for traction applications such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicles (EVs); a market predicted to be potentially ten times greater than that of consumer electronics. In fact, only Liion batteries can meet the requirements for PHEVs as set by the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), although they still fall slightly short of EV goals. In the case of Li-ion batteries, the trade-off between power and energy shown in Figure 1 is a function both of device design and the electrode materials that are used. Thus, a high power battery (e.g., one intended for an HEV) will not necessarily contain the same electrode materials as one designed for high energy (i.e., for an EV). As is shown in Figure 1, power translates into acceleration, and energy into range, or miles traveled, for vehicular uses. Furthermore, performance, cost, and abuse-tolerance requirements for traction batteries differ considerably from those for consumer electronics batteries. Vehicular applications are particularly sensitive to cost; currently, Li-ion batteries are priced at about $1000/kWh, whereas the USABC goal is $150/kWh. The three most expensive components of a Li-ion battery, no matter what the configuration, are the cathode, the separator, and the electrolyte. Reduction of cost has been one of the primary driving forces for the investigation of new cathode materials to replace expensive LiCoO{sub 2}, particularly for vehicular applications. Another extremely important factor is safety under abuse conditions such as overcharge. This is particularly relevant for the large battery packs intended for vehicular uses, which are designed with multiple cells wired in series arrays. Premature failure of one cell in a string may cause others to go into overcharge during passage of current. These considerations have led to the development of several different types of cathode materials, as will be covered in the next section. Because there is not yet one ideal material that can meet requirements for all applications, research into cathodes for Li-ion batteries is, as of this writing, a very active field.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1004156
Report Number(s):
LBNL-3652E
TRN: US201103%%376
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Book
Research Org:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Materials Sciences Division
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
25; ACCELERATION; ANODES; CAPACITY; CARBON; CATHODES; COMMERCIALIZATION; COMPUTERS; CONFIGURATION; ELECTRODES; ELECTROLYTES; ENERGY DENSITY; GRAPHITE; LITHIUM; MARKET; ORGANIC SOLVENTS; SAFETY; SOLID ELECTROLYTES; TRANSITION ELEMENTS Li-ion battery, cathodes, energy