The addition of the gel coating also makes the battery safer and boosts the energy density. Even when the interphase layer is damaged (if the battery casing were punctured, for instance), it reacts slowly with the lithium or lithiated graphite anode, preventing the fire could otherwise occur if a damaged battery brought the metal into direct contact with the electrolyte.
The next challenge is to increase the lifetime of the cells. "Right now, we are talking about 50-100 cycles, but to compare with organic electrolyte batteries, we want to get to 500 or more," said Wang. More work also needs to be done on scaling up the technology in big cells for testing. With enough funding, the 4-volt chemistry could be ready for commercializing in about five years, said Xu.
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