Energy Storage and Batteries Applications
The energy storage and battery sector represent a dynamic and rapidly evolving field within the broader energy industry. It encompasses a wide range of technologies and materials designed to store and release energy, with applications spanning grid level storage to portable electronic devices. The sector dates back to early battery experiments and the discovery of electricity in the 18th century. Batteries have evolved from simple voltaic cells to sophisticated high-capacity energy storage systems. Industry research and development breakthroughs, such as the lithium-ion battery, powers everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.
The industry does have its challenges, especially around materials sourcing, cost reduction, energy density improvement and environmental sustainability. Advanced materials are at the forefront of addressing these challenges, promising greater efficiency, longer lifespans, and eco-friendlier solutions. Goodfellow, a trusted global supplier of advanced materials, provides high-quality materials and expert technical advice to support energy storage and battery sector requirements and partner with the world’s innovators in industry and research and development to enable scientific and technological advancements in this sector.
Energy storage and batteries are rapidly developing sectors that are becoming increasingly important in an area of energy uncertainty and a push to make renewable energy adoption more widespread and feasible. Recent decreases in the cost of energy storage technologies have only accelerated this trend as full grid defection starts to become economically viable on a larger scale.
Of the possible energy storage capabilities available, lithium-ion batteries are predicted to become the cheapest battery technology by 2050, with the levelised cost of energy storage to reduce from a third to half between 2030 and 2050.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries seem to have the strongest prospects as the main battery and energy storage technology of the future, but there are numerous other battery architectures and materials being explored, such as potassium ion batteries which circumvent the resource challenge issues associated with lithium and cobalt or liquid metal batteries based on alloys and using other materials such as sulfur for the electrodes.
There are many uncertainties in how the energy storage and batteries sector will develop and which technology will emerge as the dominant choice for energy storage, but underpinning all of these potential new energy storage technologies is the availability and quality of the battery materials.
High Performance Materials for Energy Storage and Batteries
Battery manufacture and energy storage research is a particularly demanding area in terms of the need for unusual combinations of materials and very high purities and qualities. A large amount of ongoing research in lithium-ion batteries is attempting to find alternative materials for the cathode and anodes to prevent the aging and degradation that limits the lifetime of these energy storage solutions.
Goodfellow is an expert in the provision of small-quantity specialist materials for battery and energy storage applications. With a focus on quality control and specialist materials, Goodfellow has been providing the materials for a number of sectors, including energy storage, aerospace and medical sciences.
For battery materials, Goodfellow offers a number of new specialist materials for lithium-ion energy storage. The most common anode materials are carbon-based, including graphite structures, and lithium complexes, including lithium titanate. The anode material choice is very important for the energy storage device performance as the material often determines the overall energy density and longevity of the final cell.
Goodfellow now offers a range of new lithium-ion battery anode materials, including lithium titanium oxide (LI4Ti5O12), which is considered to be a key material in next-generation lithium-ion energy storage technologies due to its excellent safety properties, cyclic performance and very high rate capabilities.
For the cathode side, Goodfellow can provide lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) – a very common oxide cathode material that is also used in some solid-state energy storage devices, lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) – a low-cost, environmentally friendly alternative that can still achieve excellent performance capabilities, and lithium nickel manganese oxide (LiN0.5Mn1.5O4) – another next-generation battery material that has high thermal stability and offers a nontoxic alternative.
Auxiliary Materials for Energy Storage and Batteries
While the cathode and anode materials are two of the most important parts of the battery, the overall performance and behavior of a fuel cell are also dependent on materials in other places of the overall energy storage device. One is the electrolyte which serves to connect the cathode and anode and acts as a charge transport medium. Goodfellow can provide a lithium lanthanum zirconium oxide (Li7La3Zr2O12) material that can be used as an electrolyte.
Goodfellow’s materials are important for use in lithium-ion energy storage devices as these solids electrolytes with very high stability help to prevent some of the fire safety issues around liquid electrolyte batteries. The improvement in safety for these energy storage solutions also does not compromise performance – this solid electrolyte material comes with a fantastic room temperature conductivity of the lithium ions and is stable with respect to many lithium metal electrodes.
Alternative materials like lithium orthosilicate (Li4SiO4) are also available for the production of different types of energy storage technology, such as solid-state thin film batteries.
Many carbon electrodes in energy storage devices are wrapped with a kind of foil to try and improve their performance. Copper foils can be used as current collectors, and nickel, aluminum and cobalt can also be used as a battery slurry. The materials offered by Goodfellow are vast and can provide for all aspects of energy storage device design. A number of graphite designs are available, as well as auxiliary chemicals such as binders that can be used to ensure the right battery performance.
Alongside its expertise in materials sourcing and delivery, Goodfellow has in-house sputtering capabilities and can thus provide some materials, such as those for solid anodes as sputtering targets or in powder form, depending on exactly what is appropriate for the application.
Getting research and development right in a complex and rapidly evolving field like energy storage and battery design means having the right supplier and partner to support your work. Goodfellow can provide entirely unique high quality materials to achieve these goals and minimise research and development time by ensuring that all tested systems are well-characterised and profiled with excellent quality control in the production.
Contact Goodfellow today to find out what new materials are available and discover what combination would be beneficial to your new battery designs. Goodfellow’s expertise can help you realise the true potential of energy materials and energy storage.