Graphene battery - beyond lithium-ion, lead-acid or NiCd

Graphene battery is a new type of battery that’s being developed and it may serve to substitute various kinds of batteries in many different applications. The industry uses to lead, lithium or nickel batteries however may soon need to get acquainted with battery graphene as a material.

The interest stirred by this potential technology can be well demonstrated by one fact – it is currently in the focus of Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Based on a super-material Graphene is a newly developed super-material. It is a one atom-thick layer of carbon atoms comprising benzene rings. The material has many fascinating physical properties; one of which is its superconductivity.

Other interesting properties that go in hand with electrical properties are lightness, flexibility, and durability.

Lithium-graphene hybrid batteries It is not true that graphene will outright replace prior technologies. Its benefit lies mainly in the possibility of creating hybrid batteries with other metals. The most prospective material right now is Lithium.

Non-rechargeable batteries work on a simple principle – there is an anode and a cathode. The ions flow from one to another through electrolyte. While the anode is usually made from a metal (Li), the cathode is porous carbon. In a rechargeable battery, both are electrodes; allowing for the flow of ions in both directions.

The use of graphene is as a carbon material, but also as a raw material for a hybrid lithium-graphene cathode. The electrolyte can also be infused with graphene in order to improve its properties. The conductivity and regular structuring of graphene make it a viable material for all parts of the conventional battery.

Of course, the hybrid battery functions according to the same principle as its predecessor(s), however it is much more efficient.

Other possibilities There are of course alternatives to lithium-graphene hybrid batteries. Alkali and zinc hybrids had been developed, however their service life is shorter.

One possibility which may overshadow the pure lithium hybrid is the introduction of graphene into lithium-sulfur cells. It plays a part in charge generation, and again draws from its favorable qualities.

One way or another, the highly conductive properties of graphene and its use in batteries actually blurs the till now-clear line between supercapacitors and batteries.

Current battery types Various types of battery graphene are being developed for particular roles within the battery. Recently, a type of battery was developed in Spain with a 1kWh/kg ratio (4-times above the usual standard). The future will show about the feasibility; however this is the kind of innovations we may expect from the research of battery graphene.

Graphene battery - market and projections

The graphene battery market is expected to grow rapidly, with an expected CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of over 38% between 2016 and 2024.

The market grows In 2015, the graphene battery market was 1 750 000 USD with the highest share of automotive industry (car batteries, electric cars).

Projections for the future The market size grew to 2 000 000 USD in 2016 (majority – automotive industry) and is projected to grow significantly. By 2024, a modest projection suggests the market will move to around 10 000 000 USD. The biggest share is likely to develop into an even spread between automotive industry and healthcare; with further more limited aliquots of aerospace, defense, and industrial robotics.

The projections vary widely with some reaching as much as 110 000 000 USD in 8 years.

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