New research on revitalizing lithium-ion cells

I thought this new research finding was quite interesting and worth sharing as general info although its possibility or relevance for us home users at the present time is unknown. I can’t access the research paper without paying $$ so I have no idea what methods or cells they used in this study…suspect it may have been geared toward the monumental shift in electric vehicles and the challenges there.

Basically zapping lithium-ion cells with high current to “heal” some of the wear, so to speak, or prevent it during normal use (charging). From the little I can see it looks like it could significantly improve both the reduction of capacity and overall cycle count/life. Perhaps one day we’ll have li-ion charges with a “refresh cycle” mode or a change to the typical charging method programmed into the chargers. They’re giving charge rates at density ratios…maybe someone can math that out to layman’s numbers.

Over the years I’ve started to glaze over and ignore a lot of the battery research - even though some of it is interesting or novel, most of it can’t or won’t come to fruition in the products we use, or perhaps not for many many years if it has merit. This seems more useful overall, though.

Source article in Nature has some links to the figures/graphs from the research paper (scroll down a ways): Dynamic spatial progression of isolated lithium during battery operations | Nature

Even if it works the claim that it reduces fire risk is laughable.

That said i am not yet convinced it is even correct, high discharge rates are not good for lithium batteries which is general knowledge since their creation.

That said one must be open minded but this is not yet proven.

Here’s the research paper

Dendrites…reversing or preventing…that’s our biggest risk with venting and fire…that’s the whole point of this research. Without seeing the details in the paper but looking at the figures, it appears to be all charge, not discharge, for the methodology they are presenting.

Supreme…extremely hesitant to dl that file…not familiar with the site. Did you upload it, and if so do you mind sharing how you got the materials? Shows it was just uploaded.

i’ve used that service before and it downloaded without incident. It asks if you want high speed (fee) or low speed (free); i have always used the free (budget minded) and it has always worked. i can email it to you if you are nervous about the dl.

it is a quite technical study to investigate manipulation of Li ions

To test their theory, they doped some cells with excess Li:
“As a proof of concept, we evaluated the electrochemical performance of NMC–Li full cells with 150%-excessed Li with and without activation.”

“The dynamic polarization of i-Li results in its spatial progression toward the cathode (anode) during charge (discharge). By promoting its growth toward the anode through fast discharging, we further dem- onstrated the recovery of isolated Li in both Cu–Li and NMC–Li cells. We anticipate that the mechanistic insights into the behaviour of i-Li will inspire and guide the future development of robust lithium metal batteries and realize extreme fast-charging in lithium-ion batteries.”

All good. I hate anonymized files…and couldn’t cross check with file size or anything else. Used a different computer and gave it a scan. I’ll have to read it later tonight. Thanks for the offer! And thanks Supreme for the link!

I guess i am skeptical becasue this upends a great deal of established knowledge.
That said more data and third party replication is in order.

I did not upload the file, supreme apparently did.

I have access through uni. Just googled a file upload service and picked the first one. I can upload to whichever file service you choose.

They’re talking about a quick hi-load discharge immediately after full? charging. It’s already well known that you should not leave a Lithium-Ion battery in a state of “full” charge. In flashlight terms, one minute on turbo immediately after charging probably isn’t going to hurt anything. It’s also already known that you can extend a battery’s life cycle by not fully charging or discharging. 80/20, 85/30, 4.0/3.5v pick your range. Does that have something to do with not losing this lithium on stranded islands? I don’t know. They also loaded their hand built test battery with extra lithium so it’s easier to create Bridges and not have isolated Islands.

From experience I can say that discharging a LiPo cell at specified C-rate to about 3V under load from time to time does increase the lifetime of the cell.
An overdesigned cell (too many mAh, too much C, too little charge or discharge current) ages faster than a cell operated close to the specified parameters.
Never thought about the cause for these findings.

Here is the paper’s conclusions:

So their method is to discharge at 1C for 2 minutes after charging process which boosted battery life after 40 cycles. And other literature reports discharging 1.5C is also beneficial. I think some fancy chargers like MC3000 could be programmed to do this, anyone wants to try this and report?

Lithium batteries lose a few percent in their first 2-5%-ish of service life, so they claim they can recover it.
Thats great (if universal) but the after this initial drop the cell stabilizes for most of its working life. So their proof of concept only covers the initial drop which most devices don’t even notice becasue its expected design behaviour.

What they really need to do is get some old worn out batteries that are below 80% initial capacity (and high IR) and see if they can revive them.

:laughing: Don’t hold your breath waiting on that to ever happen.

Why not?

They actually did somewhat accounted for this effect. Their highly artificial battery only has life span of about 100 cycles, and they claim their discharge method increased battery capacity beyond 100 cycles, i.e. even good for even near end of life batteries. I’m somewhat skeptical but I did order a MC3000 recently and may do some real world testing if I got some time.

Artificial aging is not always analogous to actual aging.
And i guarantee they can find naturally aged cells, just go to the battery recycling bin of any big box store.

You can pulse charge lead acid and get some extra life out of them. Its a proven effect and you can buy chargers that do it.
So i would love to see actual aged lithium cells brought back to life and see how much more life you can get out of them.

This is not expensive for a research lab and some PhD students.

I agree 100%. There are other red flags in the paper. Their sample size of 6 I believe and their own battery chemistry is chosen to allow for premature artificial aging. With that said, I would love to do a real world test of this. You think I could go to a box store and ask for some of those aged cells? All my batteries are <3 months ago since I only got into this hobby very recently.

Many BLFers have been succesful in getting used cells by asking nicely.

Sometimes you end up with new cells from displays or people who didn’t know how to charge them or changed eco systems or threw away batteries when cleaning out parent’s basements who have passed away and so forth.

Many BLFers have been succesful in getting used cells by asking nicely.

Sometimes you end up with new cells from displays or people who didn’t know how to charge them or changed eco systems or threw away batteries when cleaning out parent’s basements who have passed away and so forth.

After reading through the paper and going down a couple rabbit holes, I’m not sure what to think. It certainly holds promise. Their test cells weren’t at all like our manufactured cells but that’s not important. I’m curious about their choice of Li-Cu (could be a good chemistry reason for that, for this experimentation) but they also used a LiMnCo in the tests. Their treatment of the formation charge is critical here, it seems, and that may be where a lot of the benefit is but it’s clear that there could be benefits down the road as well. Somewhere in there I saw more digestible numbers of charging at 0.3C and discharging at 0.1C as they were trying to massage the iLi toward the anode, which in turn reduces the size and growth of dendrites (good gosh those things are tiny…I had no idea the scale we were talking about when mentioning those). Interesting that the dendrites were able to pierce one liner but not the other (I’m sure that’s not news to the bigwigs).

I think maybe “revitalizing” is the wrong word to use here…that was synonymed from the article I first read about this. It’ll be interesting to see if this can actually apply to packaged cells we use in products and if chargers will follow suit in the consumer market. I really suspect it’ll be the automotive arena that will give it the attention if it deserves it. I think it was Figure 9 (second to last page) that was the most telling, for potential.