A New Material For Commercial Li-ion Batteries: Silk?

Silk could be the next new material for future lithium-ion batteries, as discovered by scientists from Beijing Institute of Technology. Their paper describing the research was published in the journal ACS Nano.

Carbon, or more commonly graphite, has been the key component for the anode in commercial Li-ion battery and supercapacitors. However, it has a limited capacity. With their regenerated silk fibrion material that was derived from natural silk, batteries could store up to 5 times more lithium than graphite can. The material worked for more than 10,000 cycles and maintained a high charge stability of about 92%.

Graphite replacements have been in the works by scientists for many years, including high-quartz sand, which was found to triple performance in coin-sized batteries.

By processing natural silk to create carbon-based nanosheets, the Beijing-based researchers have successfully incorporated their material into prototype batteries and supercapacitors. This could be scaled up for commercial application, or find use in sodium-ion batteries, hydrogen storage and other hybrid energy storage devices.

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