A team from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has developed a new practical, high-energy-capacity lithium-ion battery anode out of silicon by encapsulating Si microparticles (∼1–3 µm) using conformally synthesized cages of multilayered graphene. The graphene cage acts as a mechanically strong and flexible buffer during... Read more →

European ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies received a €4-million (US$4.4-million) investment from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company dedicated to promoting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe’s energy industry. The €4m investment from KIC InnoEnergy—the shareholders of which include ABB, EDF, Iberdrola and Total—will be used to further develop the competitive advantage... Read more →

Researchers at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering have found that crumpled graphene balls are an extremely promising lubricant additive. In a series of tests, a polyalphaolefin base oil with only 0.01–0.1 wt % of crumpled graphene balls outperformed a fully formulated commercial lubricant in terms of friction and wear... Read more →

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have found, through experiments and calculations, that hydrogen-treated graphene nanofoam (GNF) anodes in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) show higher capacity and faster transport. The research suggests that controlled hydrogen treatment may be used as a strategy for optimizing lithium transport and reversible storage in other graphene-based... Read more →

The Rice lab of chemist James Tour and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Houston have developed a robust, solid-state catalyst that shows promise to replace expensive platinum for hydrogen generation. The new electrocatalyst, based on very small... Read more →

Researchers in China have developed a self-supporting high-performance silicon anode for Li-ion batteries (LIBs) consisting of silicon-nanoparticle-impregnated assemblies of templated carbon-bridged oriented graphene. The binder-free anodes demonstrate exceptional lithium storage performances, simultaneously attaining high gravimetric capacity (1390 mAh g–1 at 2 A g–1 with respect to the total electrode weight);... Read more →

Researchers at the Tour Lab at Rice University developed an improved cost-effective approach using direct laser scribing to prepare graphene embedded with various types of metallic nanoparticles. The resulting metal oxide-laser induced graphene (MO-LIG) is highly active in electrochemical oxygen reduction reactions with a low metal loading of less than... Read more →

A new NSF-funded Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) at Penn State and Rice University will study the design and development of advanced coatings based on two-dimensional (2D) layered materials to solve fundamental scientific and technological challenges that include: corrosion, oxidation and abrasion, friction and wear, energy storage and harvesting, and... Read more →

Manchester team greatly broadens thermal window of thermoelectric material using graphene; potential vehicle applications for waste heat recovery

Researchers at the University of Manchester (UK) have shown that the thermal operating window of the thermoelectric material lanthanum strontium titanium oxide (LSTO) can be expanded down to room temperature by addition of a small amount of graphene. Applications of LSTO-based thermoelectric materials are currently limited by their high operating... Read more →

Argonne scientists have used the Mira supercomputer to identify and to improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity—a state in which friction essentially disappears—at the macroscale—i.e., at engineering scale—for the first time. A paper on their work was... Read more →

Researchers in China report the development of a rationally designed Li−S cathode consisting of a freestanding composite thin film assembled from sulfur nanoparticles, reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and a multifunctional additive poly(anthraquinonyl sulfide) (PAQS): nano-S:rGO:PAQS. The resulting cathode exhibits an initial specific capacity of 1255 mAh g−1 with a decay... Read more →

Market analyst firm Lux Research has maintained a skeptical stance about the commercial prospects of graphene even in the light of the material’s compelling properties. In a 2012 report “Is Graphene the Next Silicon...Or Just the Next Carbon Nanotube?”, Lux examined the interplay between graphene’s compelling performance properties as an... Read more →

Skeleton Technologies launches new range of high-performance ultracapacitors; up to 111 kW/kg and 9.6 Wh/kg; hybrid truck application coming

Skeleton Technologies (earlier post) has launched a new range of cylindrical ultracapacitors that offers specific power performance of up to 111 kW/kg (SC450, 450F) and specific energy up to 9.6 Wh/kg (SC4500, 4500F) with ESR as low as 0.075 mΩ (SC3000, 3000F)—the highest performance cylindrical cell ultracapacitors in the market.... Read more →

A team at Samsung Advanced Institue of Technology (SAIT, Samsung’s global R&D hub) reports in an open access paper published in the journal Nature Communications on a new approach to advance high-capacity silicon (Si) anodes for Li-ion batteries (LIBs) to commercial viability, with a particular focus on improving the volumetric... Read more →

Researchers from Tsinghua University have developed what they call a “promising strategy” to tackle the intrinsic problems of lithium metal anodes for Lithium sulfur batteries—dendritic and mossy metal depositing on the anode during repeated cycles leading to serious safety concerns and low Coulombic efficiency. As described in a paper published... Read more →

Researchers at MIT are predicting that predict that suitable chemical functionalization of graphene can result in a large enhancement in the Seebeck coefficient for thermoelectric materials, leading to an increase in the room-temperature power factor of a factor of 2 compared to pristine graphene, despite degraded electrical conductivity. Furthermore, the... Read more →

A team at Beihang University in China has synthesized cathode materials for Li-sulfur batteries consisting of vertically aligned sulfur–graphene (S-G) nanowalls on electrically conductive substrates. In each individual S-G nanowall, the sulfur nanoparticles are homogeneously anchored between graphene layers; ordered graphene arrays arrange perpendicularly to the substrates, enabling fast diffusion... Read more →

Northwestern-led team finds slightly imperfect graphene can serve as a highly selective proton separation membrane

Researchers from Northwestern University, together with collaborators from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Virginia, the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Puerto Rico, have discovered that protons can transfer easily through graphene—conventionally thought to be unfit for proton transfer absent nanoscale holes or dopants—through... Read more →

Drexel researchers, along with colleagues at Aix-Marseille University in France, have synthesized two-dimensional carbon/sulfur (C/S) nanolaminate materials. Covalent bonding between C and S is observed in the nanolaminates, which along with and an extremely uniform distribution of sulfur between the atomically thin carbon layers make them promising electrode materials for... Read more →

Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are proposing that it is possible to design an efficient graphene-cathode-based thermionic energy converter (TIC)—a device for converting heat to electricity leveraging the phenomenon of thermionic emission, or the release of electrons from a hot body—operating at around 900 K... Read more →

One of the main obstacles to the commercialization of high-energy density lithium-sulfur batteries is the tendency for lithium polysulfides—the lithium and sulfur reaction products—to dissolve in the battery’s electrolyte and travel to the opposite electrode permanently. This causes the battery’s capacity to decrease over its lifetime. To prevent this polysulfide... Read more →

Rice graphene aerogel catalyst doped with boron and nitrogen outperform platinum in fuel cell ORR

Graphene nanoribbons formed into a three-dimensional aerogel and doped with boron and nitrogen (3D BNC NRs) exhibit the highest onset and half-wave potentials among the reported metal-free catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in alkaline fuel cells, and show superior performance compared to commercial Pt/C catalyst, according to a... Read more →

Researchers from Nanjing Forestry University and the University of Maryland have designed high-performance microfibers by hybridizing two-dimensional (2D) graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets and one-dimensional (1D) nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) fibers. The resulting well-aligned, strong microfibers have the potential to supersede carbon fibers due to their low cost, the team suggests in... Read more →

Review paper: Graphene and related materials (GRMs) may play major role in energy applications

The large specific surface area (SSA)—i.e., the surface-to-mass ratio—of graphene, combined with its high electrical conductivity, high mechanical strength, ease of functionalization, and potential for mass production, makes it an extremely attractive platform for energy applications, such as a transparent conductive electrode for solar cells or as flexible high-capacity electrode... Read more →

This sheet of graphene contains an array of crown ethers that can strongly bind select guest ions or molecules. Image credit: ORNL. Click to enlarge. A team led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has discovered a way to increase significantly the selectivity and binding strength of... Read more →

Univ. of Manchester team finds monolayer graphene permeable to protons; implications for PEM fuel cell and other hydrogen technologies

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK have found that monolayers of graphene—which, as a perfect monolayer is impermeable to all gases and liquids—and its sister material boron nitride (BN) are highly permeable to protons, especially at elevated temperatures and if the films are covered with catalytic nanoparticles... Read more →

Graphene 3D Lab Inc., which develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary graphene-based nanocomposite materials for various types of 3D printing, including fused filament fabrication, has developed a 3D printable graphene battery. CEO Daniel Stolyarov, presented the prototype 3D printable graphene battery at the Inside 3D Printing Conference in Santa Clara, CA... Read more →

Preparation procedure for the BN-GQD/G nanocomposite. Credit: ACS, Fei et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Rice University has created a hybrid material combining graphene quantum dots (GQDs) and graphene platelets that can—depending upon its formulation—outperform platinum as a catalyst for fuel cells. The material showed an oxygen reduction... Read more →

The University of Sunderland (UK), working with a consortium of five other research partners from Italy, Spain and Germany, has been selected for funding by the €1-billion (US$1.4-billion) Graphene Flagship research initiative in Europe (earlier post) for their iGCAuto proposal. The researchers will explore the properties of graphene to determine... Read more →

Adding calcium atoms (orange spheres) between graphene planes (blue honeycomb) creates a superconducting material called CaC6. A study at SLAC has shown for the first time that graphene is a key player in this superconductivity: Electrons scatter back and forth between the graphene and calcium layers, interact with natural vibrations... Read more →

Cabot launches first graphene-based additive to improve energy density of lithium-ion batteries

Cabot Corp. launched LITX G700, the company’s first graphene-based additive for high energy density lithium-ion battery applications. (Earlier post.) Utilizing graphene material developed on the basis of a new technology platform, this new additive helps lithium-ion battery manufacturers improve cell performance. The LITX G700 conductive additive is a graphene-based additive... Read more →

XG Sciences and Oak Ridge National Laboratory launch joint-development program for advanced titanium/graphene composite materials

XG Sciences, Inc., a manufacturer of graphene nanoplatelets (earlier post), has launched a joint program with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a titanium-graphene metal-matrix composite (MMC) using an advanced powder metallurgy manufacturing process. Metal matrix composites, comprising a metal and a reinforcement material to confer improved performance, have... Read more →

Left: CoO shell is shown in green, Co core in black. Right: Nanoparticles of cobalt attach themselves to a graphene substrate in a single layer. Credit: Sun Lab/Brown University. Click to enlarge. Chemists at Brown University have engineered a cobalt/cobalt oxide/graphene catalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells... Read more →

Plot of current performance data in the lab for Si/graphene anodes. Source: XG Sciences. Click to enlarge. As part of the FY 2012 Phase I Release 3 SBIR/STTR Award program, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Michigan-based XG Sciences, a manufacturer of graphene nanoplatelets (earlier post), a contract... Read more →

The Ragone plots of graphene surface-enabled Li ion-exchanging cells with different electrode thicknesses. Credit: ACS, Jang et al. Click to enlarge. A team from Nanotek Instruments and Angstrom Materials reports on a new strategy for the design of high-power and high energy-density devices based on the massive exchange of lithium... Read more →

Cycling performance of graphene/Sn nanopillar nanostructure anodes at a constant current density of 0.05 A g-1. For comparison, the cycling performance of pure graphene and Sn films under the same conditions are also shown. Ji et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers with the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National... Read more →

Induced voltage as a function of fluid flow velocity for the graphene film (exposed to ~0.6 and ~0.3 M HCl solutions) and for a multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT) film exposed to a ~0.6 M HCl solution. Credit: ACS, Dhiman et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)... Read more →

Mapping the electronic cloud of graphene. The red regions depict folds in the material while the green regions are relatively flat domains. The “hills and valleys” present in the electron cloud can act as speed bumps preventing the flow of charge through the material. Image credit: Brian Schultz and Christopher... Read more →

Ragone plots for the pristine graphene, N-doped graphene, B-doped graphene, graphene oxide (GO), and GO500 based cells with lithium metal as the counter/reference electrode. The calculation of gravimetric energy and power density was based on the active material mass of a single electrode. Credit: ACS, Wu et al. Click to... Read more →

Schematic of the synthesis steps for a graphene-sulfur composite material, with a proposed schematic structure of the composite. Credit: ACS, Wang et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Stanford University led by Drs. Yi Cui and Hongjie Dai report the synthesis of a graphene–wrapped sulfur composite material that shows high... Read more →

Variation in discharge capacity vs. cycle number for graphite, RGO, and Li-RGO cycled at a current rate of 25 mA/g between 3.0 and 0.02 V vs Li/Li+ in a 1 M solution of LiPF6 in a 1:1 (v/v) mixture of ethylene carbonate (EC) and dimethyl carbonate (DMC) as the electrolyte.... Read more →

Left: Rate capability of MoS2/G samples at different current densities:(1) MoS2/G (1:1); (2) MoS2/G (1:2); (3) MoS2/G (1:4). Right: cartoon of the composite. Credit: ACS, Chang and Chen. Click to enlarge. A pair of researchers from Zhejiang University (China) have synthesized layered MoS2/graphene (MoS2/G) composites using a facile biomolecular-assisted process... Read more →

(A) Schematic showing the microwave exfoliation/reduction of GO and the chemical activation of MEGO (a-MEGO) that creates pores while retaining high electrical conductivity. (B–E) Images of a-MEGO. E shows presence of a dense network of nanometer-scale pores surrounded by highly curved, predominantly single layer carbon. Credit: Zhu et al. Click... Read more →