Nanomaterials enabled next generation rechargeable batteries: a replacement for Li-ion technology

Period of Performance: 01/30/2003 - 07/30/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanopowder Enterprises, Inc.
120 Centennial Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Principal Investigator


There is an immediate need for low cost, reliable and safe rechargeable batteries with high energy density (i.e. superior to state of the art Li-ion batteries) for use in a variety of military, aerospace and commercial applications. Rechargeable Mg2+ batteries offer the potential to fulfill these requirements. Such batteries are termed polyvalent batteries because of the doubly charged cation, as opposed to the singly charged Li-ion. However, in order for these batteries to become commercially viable, cathodes with good retention capacity and long cycle life are needed. The performance for Mg intercalation in microcrystalline cathode materials has been poor. Based on our work on nanostructured materials for a variety of intercalating cations, we propose to develop cathode materials composed of "discrete" nanoparticles that are specifically engineered for Mg2+ intercalation. The electrochemical properties of cathodes made of these powders will be evaluated by working with our industrial collaborator, who is the lead developer of polyvalent batteries in the United States. In Phase II, the characteristics of nanopowders will be optimized, and electrochemical properties of cathodes made of these powders will be tested in Mg test cells. Additionally, prototype Mg batteries with high energy density (> 225 Wh/kg) and long cycle life (~ 500) utilizing these optimized nanopowders will be fabricated. Worldwide sale of secondary (i.e. rechargeable) batteries is expected to increase from $25 billion in 1999 to $37 billion in 2004, representing an annual growth rate of 8.2%. Rechargeable Mg batteries with high energy density offer the potential to replace Li-ion batteries in several portable devices, where both cost and energy density are important. Additionally, Mg batteries can also replace NiMH and Pb-acid batteries, currently being used in electric vehicles. Our approach to new cathode materials in case of Mg2+ intercalation will lead to economical and high performance batteries.