From: University of California - San Diego
Published June 15, 2017 04:06 PM

Electrolytes Made from Liquefied Gas Enable Batteries to Run at Ultra-low Temperatures

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a breakthrough in electrolyte chemistry that enables lithium batteries to run at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius with excellent performance — in comparison, today’s lithium-ion batteries stop working at -20 degrees Celsius. The new electrolytes also enable electrochemical capacitors to run as low as -80 degrees Celsius — their current low temperature limit is -40 degrees Celsius. While the technology enables extreme low temperature operation, high performance at room temperature is still maintained. The new electrolyte chemistry could also increase the energy density and improve the safety of lithium batteries and electrochemical capacitors.

The work will be published online by the journal Science on Thursday, 15 June, 2017.

The technology could allow electric vehicles in cold climates to travel farther on a single charge, alleviating range anxiety during the winter in places like Boston. The technology could also be used to power craft in the extreme cold, such as high atmosphere WiFi drones and weather balloons, satellites, interplanetary rovers and other aerospace applications.

The batteries and electrochemical capacitors the researchers developed are especially cold hardy because their electrolytes are made from liquefied gas solvents — gases that are liquefied under moderate pressures — which are far more resistant to freezing than standard liquid electrolytes. The new lithium battery electrolyte was made using liquefied fluoromethane gas. The electrochemical capacitor electrolyte was made using liquefied difluoromethane gas.

Continue reading at University of California - San Diego

Photo: New electrolytes made from liquefied gas enable lithium batteries and electrochemical capacitors to run at extremely cold temperatures. (Photos by David Baillot / UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

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