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An environmentally friendly battery made from wood

Teng Li's picture

Nano Letters, 13 (7), 3093–3100 (2013). 

Sodium (Na)-ion batteries offer an attractive option for low cost grid scale storage due to the abundance of Na. Tin (Sn) is touted as a high capacity anode for Na-ion batteries with a high theoretical capacity of 847 mAh/g, but it has several limitations such as large volume expansion with cycling, slow kinetics, and unstable solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation. In this article, we demonstrate that an anode consisting of a Sn thin film deposited on a hierarchical wood fiber substrate simultaneously addresses all the challenges associated with Sn anodes. The soft nature of wood fibers effectively releases the mechanical stresses associated with the sodiation process, and the mesoporous structure functions as an electrolyte reservoir that allows for ion transport through the outer and inner surface of the fiber. These properties are confirmed experimentally and computationally. A stable cycling performance of 400 cycles with an initial capacity of 339 mAh/g is demonstrated; a significant improvement over other reported Sn nanostructures. The soft and mesoporous wood fiber substrate can be utilized as a new platform for low cost Na-ion batteries.

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