Better and faster: Novel design puts charge into battery performance

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With the support of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Office of Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, Texas A&M University researcher Choongho Yu, professor in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, and entrepreneurial partner Ranga Vasudevan have successfully launched a lithium-based battery technology startup called Flexodes.

“High-energy density and low cost are the two most important aspects currently lacking in lithium battery-operated devices, including present-day electric vehicle batteries. We hope to fill that technological need,” said Yu.

Further, recognizing the merit of commercializing the innovation in high-performance lithium batteries, the startup has received a highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Air Force.

“In the short term, our focus is on refining and improving the technology for use in mobile devices in the private and defense sectors while we continue down our path to being a premier technology for electric vehicles and other markets,” said Vasudevan. “Having said that, Flexodes is entirely focused on furthering battery technology beyond lithium-ion to the next generation.”

The basis of the commercial venture is research from Yu’s laboratory on lithium-sulfur batteries. In particular, Yu’s team has patented the design of a 3D trench-wall carbon nanotube framework for the battery’s electrodes. These high-performing electrodes dramatically increase the battery’s ability to store charge.

The electrodes also discharge very easily, generating large quantities of current to power up devices rapidly. The experts also added that batteries built with their technology are more resistant to the formation of finger-like deposits called dendrites that cause most commercially available lithium-based batteries to overheat and rupture.

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