Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have become an integral part of our daily lives, powering a wide range of devices from smartphones to electric vehicles. However, as consumer demands for higher energy density, longer cycling life, and faster-charging capability continue to grow, the need for advanced battery technology becomes increasingly apparent. One of the key components of LIBs is the cathode material, with LiCoO2 (LCO) being the primary choice. Unfortunately, existing electrolytes for LCO have not been able to keep up with the demand for high energy density and fast-charging performance.

Recently, a research group led by Prof. Wu Zhongshuai from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) unveiled a groundbreaking development in electrolyte technology. The team introduced a unique “cocktail electrolyte” that incorporates a synergistic blend of multi-component additives. This innovative electrolyte has enabled commercial LCO batteries to operate at a high voltage of 4.6 V and support ultra-fast charging capabilities of up to 5 C, all within a wide temperature range of -20 to 45°C. The study, published in Energy & Environmental Science, marks a significant milestone in the quest for high-performance LIBs.

By pushing the boundaries of traditional electrolyte technology, the researchers were able to address several key challenges that hindered the high voltage and fast-charging capabilities of LCO batteries. The novel “cocktail electrolyte” (FPE) enhanced the stability of fast-charging cycles, resulting in remarkable capacity retention of 73.2% even after 1,000 cycles at 5 C. The robust electrode/electrolyte interphases facilitated by FPE prevented cathode surface degradation, accelerated reaction kinetics, and minimized the formation of lithium dendrites, even under extreme conditions. This breakthrough has paved the way for the development of high-performance 4.6 V Li-ion batteries with exceptional long-term cyclability.

The applications of FPE extend beyond LCO batteries, demonstrating its versatility in high-voltage Ni-rich and Co-free cathodes. The successful implementation of this novel electrolyte in practical pouch-type cells has yielded impressive results, with graphite||LCO batteries maintaining up to 72.1% capacity retention after 2,000 cycles and long-term cyclability exceeding 3,800 cycles. Prof. Wu emphasized the significance of this work, stating that it provides a practical strategy for achieving high-energy-density and fast-charging batteries. As we look towards the future, the advancements in electrolyte technology are poised to revolutionize the performance and reliability of lithium-ion batteries, paving the way for a new era of energy storage innovation.


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