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Fossilised algae could enable cheaper, longer-range EVs

By / 1 year ago / Tech / No Comments

Researchers in California have discovered a cheaper and greener way to produce long-range lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, using fossilised algae.

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The discovery could enable high-capacity, low cost batteries for next-generation electric vehicles.

Lithium-ion batteries typically feature graphite anodes; a material which limits their performance. Silicon anodes offer ten times the energy capacity, but the material is produced at very high temperatures making it expensive and energy-intensive to manufacture.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering discovered that pure silicon nano-partiles can also be extracted from diatomaceous earth (DE), an abundant sedimentary rock formed from fossilised single-cell algae called diatoms. The extraction via chemical reaction is a much more energy-efficient process than normal silicon production.

The research, led by engineering professors Mihri Ozkan, and Cengiz Ozkan, and co-authored by materials science and engineering graduate, Brennan Campbell, is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.