German researchers make progress with battery technology

Single-walled carbon nanotubes improve electric connectivity

The Karlsruhe Insitute of Technology (KIT) is developing batteries that have five times the storage capacity of current lithium-ion batteries.

The German researchers in KIT’s Institute for Nanotechnology are developing a new synthesis of iron-carbon storage materials that could significantly boost battery performance.

Traditional batteries have an energy density that is about 50 times lower than gasoline in an equally large tank. That poses major challenges to the fledgling electric vehicle industry, which currently can build cars with an electric range of only about 150 km.

With KIT’s new experimental technology, various raw materials are mixed with lithium salt and then jointly heated.

Manufacturing costs are low and the process is relatively simple. Today already, the storage capacity of the new material is twice that of traditional batteries.

“If we manage to fully exploit the potential of this new material, we can generate a five-fold improvement in energy density over lithium-ion batteries,” said Maximilian Fichter, who heads the energy storage unit of KIT’s nanotechnology department.


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