Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have found a way to make lithium ion batteries last longer and charge faster, by using graphene nanofoam electrodes and treating them with hydrogen. The calculations and experiments carried out as part of the research revealed that when defect-rich graphene was intentionally treated with hydrogen at a low-temperature, it enhanced the rate capacity of the graphene, so that the interaction of the two opened small gaps in the coating that resulted in better binding between the electrode and lithium ions.
Using these new electrodes, charging rates went up to 40% faster, with less energy waste during charging and higher power output. The scientists say, however, that here is still a lot to achieve before the work finds its way into commercial batteries. The study also reveals that controlled hydrogen treatment could help optimize the transport of lithium and reversible storage in other materials that are based on graphene.