Chineese Research Into Battery Storage Technology Uses Atmospheric Nitrogen.
The world is consuming Lithium for Lithium-ion batteries at an ever increasing rate. Everything from cell phones to cars now require more efficient lithium ion batteries that cost less and last longer. However at some point we will come to end of what is possible with this chemistry and by the way the availability of Lithium.
We need to find a better way to store the power we need for our livestyles and economies.
As the most abundant gas in Earth’s atmosphere, nitrogen has been an attractive option as a source of renewable energy. But nitrogen gas which consists of two nitrogen atoms held together by a strong, triple covalent bond, doesn’t break apart under normal conditions, presenting a challenge to scientists who want to transfer the chemical energy of the bond into electricity.
In the journal Chem on April 13, researchers in China present one approach to capturing atmospheric nitrogen that can be used in a battery.
Needed a New Battery Storage Technology.
The “proof-of-concept” design works by reversing the chemical reaction that powers existing lithium-nitrogen batteries. Instead of generating energy from the breakdown of lithium nitride (2Li3N) into lithium and nitrogen gas, the researchers’ battery prototype runs on atmospheric nitrogen in ambient conditions and reacts with lithium to form lithium nitride. Its energy output is brief but comparable to that of other lithium-metal batteries.
“This promising research on a nitrogen fixation battery system not only provides fundamental and technological progress in the energy storage system but also creates an advanced N2/Li3N (nitrogen gas/lithium nitride) cycle for a reversible nitrogen fixation process,” says senior author Xin-Bo Zhang, of the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The work is still at the initial stage. More intensive efforts should be devoted to developing the battery systems.
About the Research
This work is financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
This is an artistic illustration of Zhang and colleagues’ proof-of-concept experiment, which successfully implements a reversible nitrogen cycle based on rechargeable Li-N2 batteries with promising electrochemical faradic efficiency.
CREDIT Zhang et. al.
Gordon’s expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.