The batteries are being developed by the Centre for Advanced 2D Materials (CA2DM) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Brazilian niobium specialists CBMM.
According to NUS, niobium (a relatively abundant and environmentally friendly material) serves as the primary active material in the negative electrode of the batteries while also being used as an additive in the positive electrode.
Graphene is utilised in both negative and positive electrodes to boost electronic conductivity and structural stability. In the negative electrode, the unique crystal structure of niobium materials facilitates rapid charging without damaging the structure. In the positive electrode, niobium materials can increase ionic conductivity and safeguard the active material from degradation.
Additionally, the low-density nature of graphene significantly improves the electronic conductivity of both electrodes without compromising the overall energy density of the battery.
The batteries are being tested at the new CBMM-CA2DM Advanced Battery Laboratory which was launched yesterday (May 22, 2023) by NUS and CBMM and established with a joint investment of $3.8m over three years, supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation.
“We have made significant progress in our development of niobium-graphene batteries which are proving to be a game changer in safety, efficiency, and sustainability,” said Professor Antonio H. Castro Neto, director of CA2DM.
The final prototype of the niobium-graphene battery is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.
Rogerio Ribas, CBMM global head of batteries said: “As they have a longer lifespan, the new graphene-niobium batteries significantly reduce total cost of ownership compared to existing lithium-ion batteries and have ultrafast charging capabilities. In addition, they offer higher safety as they do not risk explosion even in high temperatures.
Ribas continued: “The first batteries to combine niobium applications on both cathode and anode, they also have advantages such as higher input and output power, wider temperature operating range and higher state of charge thus can be developed for specific markets such as commercial and industrial applications including regenerative braking systems for hybrid vehicles, heavy-duty applications, intralogistics, cordless power tools among others.”