There is a lot of buzz around the Elon musk being one of the richest man on the planet. All thanks to spur in share prices of his enterprise Tesla .It is majorly known for its e-vehicles being driverless. The world is heading to the era of electronic vehicles and the fuel of this era will be Lithium batteries.
The evolution of batteries itself is backed by a great history beginning from the 1970s. The 2019 Nobel for chemistry went to Akira Yoshino, Stanley Whittingham and John Goodenough for the development of Li-battery.
Structure and Working
One of the earliest batteries were made up of Titanium sulphide which was very expensive because of the fact that titanium sulphide can only be synthesised in artificial conditions. The idea of using Li electrode was tried but being dipped in aqueous electrolytic solution it vigorously released H2. Hence it was concluded to use lithium compounds in electrolyte and electrode of something else like carbon.
As a simple electrolytic cell function, the lithium batteries are structurally and functionally similar. the negative electrode(Anode) made up of graphite and the positive electrode(Cathode) of lithium oxides like LiCoO2. The non-aqueous electrolytic solution like LiPF6(lithium hexafloro phosphate)is there for continuous maintenance of Li ions in the cell. NMC(nickel magnesium cobalt)cells have different ratios of these metals serving the specified purpose. Use of nanotechnology in future will supposedly increase the efficiency further.
Environmental safety and Recycling
Parts of north and south America, central Andes, south Africa and china are currently known for their Lithium reserves. China being the sweet spot for e-vehicle manufacturing as industrial infrastructure and reserves of lithium both are available.
With all of these, there comes the major concern about the effect on the environment as an enormous amount of hazardous chemicals are disposed of and the mining for these metals is done. we ensure the environmental safeguard by reducing the disposal of harmful chemicals and recycling the most of it. Fe, Co, Ni from the lithium polymer batteries waste is safe for landfills. There are various methods to recycle like Direct recycling and polymetallurgical method of recycling.
Direct recycling can be used for not so exhausted batteries means who still have some charge cycle left. the cathode strip is restored and dipped in LiOH(lithium hydroxide) to compensate the lost lithium amount. Polymetallurgical method includes various displacement reaction relinquishing the lithium compounds .once the battery is fully exhausted this method is not much helpful.
For reducing the need of more and more battery manufacturing there is much scope of extending life, increasing charging speed and use of inflammable electrolytes so that relatively lesser number can suffice our need and thus leading to lesser battery waste generation.