With an unprecedented growth in world population, our current demand for energy is ever-increasing and shows no signs of slowing down. As fossil fuels are depleted and fuel prices increase, innovative technologies are being developed for more efficient, sustainable energy use. However, these often require extraordinary energy-storage capabilities and energy release on demand. To achieve this, researchers are developing the next generation of lithium- and sodium-ion batteries, with even better performance, longer cycle lives, and higher capacities. At the heart of this development are the electrodes, with vanadium-based oxides showing great promise as high-capacity and low-cost electrode materials, and advanced electrode configurations emerging to optimize their benefits.
In their Progress Report in Advanced Energy Materials, Pengcheng Liu and Kongjun Zhu from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics review the current developments and future opportunities for the application of vanadium-based oxides in Li- and Na-ion batteries, considered to be the most promising electrochemical energy storage technologies.
“Energy storage is playing an increasingly important role in the new grid framework based on cleaner, green energy sources. With revolutionary electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems such as the smart grid fast developing, Li- and Na-ion batteries require higher energy and power densities, and longer lives at a lower cost.”
“Vanadium-based oxides are considered as some of the most promising electrode materials for next-generation batteries due to their specific capacities, high energy densities, abundant resources, and low cost.”
“Because low-dimensional nanomaterials possess large surface areas and short ion-diffusion paths, various nanostructured vanadium-based oxides—such as nanoparticles, nanowires, and nanosheets—exhibit much larger specific capacities than their bulk. However, recent studies reveal serious self-aggregation of the nanomaterials during cycling, caused by their large surface energies. This leads to unsatisfactory cycling and rate performance. 3D micro/nanostructures and free-standing electrodes have since been developed, which simultaneously retain the advantages and overcome self-aggregation of low-dimensional nanomaterials, due to their unique structural advantages.”
“A main problem preventing their commercial scale-up is that some vanadium oxides cannot be used in present LIBs because of their deletion of Li ions. The structure of commercial LIBs must therefore be revised to ensure compatibility. In our Progress Report, we propose a vanadium-oxides-based-cathode/solid-electrolyte/Li-metal-anode-type all-solid-state secondary-ion battery, whereby Li metal can supply free Li ions. Our battery has significant advantages, including improved safety and energy density.”
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