The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project will be in the improvement of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Current LIBs are often limited in energy density and charging speed due to their graphite anode. These limits result in larger sizes and weights of LIBs for advanced applications such as long-range electric vehicles (EVs). The proposed technology involves a novel nanomaterial, nickel sulfide-filled carbon nanotubes, that can replace the conventional graphite anode and enhance the performance of LIBs. This innovation can alleviate the aforementioned problems in current anode technologies and can enable development of the next generation of high performance LIBs for EVs, grid energy storage, and electric aviation. By enabling wider adoption of LIB technologies, this project can help reduce emissions linked to climate change.
This I-Corps project will advance the knowledge in the fundamental electrochemical properties of metal sulfide-filled carbon nanotubes. Specifically, the team will help to understand how the solid core-shell structure affects the transport of electrons and lithium ions and how the volume expansion of the lithiated nanowire filler is accommodated by the carbon shells. The expected results will provide new insight into the electrochemical properties of carbon nanotubes filled with metal sulfide nanowires in lithium-ion battery (LIB) applications. In this project, nanomaterials of nickel sulfide filled carbon nanotubes are developed together with techniques to synthesize these materials on flexible carbon cloth. These nanomaterials have been shown to exhibit energy storage capacity which is several times that of the current commercial graphite anode materials. Further, the nanomaterials have shown exceptional charging-discharging stability.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.