A team led by Gao Liu developed a conductive polymer binder that enables the use of silicon anodes in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Replacing commercial graphite anodes, silicon anodes have the potential to boost the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 30% but are plagued by cyclability issues linked to the volume expansion and contraction upon charge and discharge of the battery. The newly developed family of conductive binders alleviates this problem and dramatic improvements in cycling tests has been demonstrated in the laboratory. Liu worked with Berkeley Lab scientists Wanli Yang, Lin-Wang Wang, Vincent Battaglia and postdoctoral fellows Sang-Jae Park, Mingyan Wu, and Shidi Xun.
Point Source Power and Berkeley Lab won an R&D 100 Award for the company’s Voto product. The innovative device is based on a solid oxide fuel cell that is powered by burning charcoal, wood or other types of biomass – the types of fuel that many in the developing world use for cooking. The fuel cell sits in the fire and is attached to circuitry in the handle that is charged as fuel is burned. The handle, which contains an LED bulb, can be detached and used for lighting or to charge a phone. Craig Jacobson and Mike Tucker, respectively CEO and CTO as well as co-founders of Point Source Power co-invented the fuel cell while working at the Berkeley Lab. Working with Lutgard DeJonghe and Steve Visco, their breakthrough was in finding a way to replace most ceramics in the fuel cell with stainless steel, a far cheaper and durable material.
For further information, please contact:
– Gao Liu: firstname.lastname@example.org (for the lithium-ion batteries award)
– Mike Tucker: email@example.com (for the solid oxide fuel cell award)