Batteries play a very important role in electronic devices. Researchers are trying to make an affordable and environmentally friendly battery out of sand. It is being touted that such sand-based lithium ion batteries will outperform standard by up to 300%.
Zachary Favors, one of the researchers at the Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, was chilling out on a beach. At then, he suddenly took a closer look at the sand and realized its main make-up was quartz (also known as silicon dioxide).
Using sand, he milled it down to the nanometer scale, before purifying it to change the color to white from brown, before grounding salt and magnesium into the purified quartz.
Heating this powder resulted in pure silicon, and the nano-silicon formed in an extremely porous 3-D silicon sponge like consistency which eventually proved to be a major factor in improving battery performance.
According to researchers at the University of California, this sand based battery will outperform the existing industry standard by 3 times or more, which would be significant for consumers, considering replacement batteries cost thousands of dollars. For cell phones or tablets, it could mean having to recharge every three days, instead of every day.
Researchers have published their findings in the name “Scalable Synthesis of Nano-Silicon from Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries” in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Now, the Ozkan team is trying to produce larger quantities of the nano-silicon beach sand and is planning to move from coin-size batteries to pouch-size batteries that are used in cell phones. The research is supported by Temiz Energy Technologies and the UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for this invention.
Source: UCR Today