(352b) Highly Energy Dense Cu-Intercalated Bi-Birnessite/Zn Battery

Authors: 
Yadav, G. G. - Presenter, City College of New York

Manganese
dioxide (MnO2) and zinc (Zn) are one of the most abundant, safest
and cheapest materials available. Together, they are found in common household
batteries like Duracell, Energizer, etc. as small cylindrical alkaline cells.
These cells or batteries are used as primary batteries, i.e., as single use
batteries, where the entire capacity of the battery is delivered once and then
discarded. The disadvantage of primary batteries is that it takes a lot of
energy to produce the battery than the energy that can be actually obtained
from it, and also, it creates environmental waste. However, the manufacturing
of primary cells has still been rampant due to the cost of manufacturing MnO2-Zn
cells being very cheap. In terms of improving the overall energy efficiency,
reducing waste and maintaining its cost advantage, it makes good sense,
economically and environmentally, to make MnO2-Zn cells
rechargeable. However, the main deterrent to this direction has been the
fundamental material and chemical problems of the main raw components, i.e.,
MnO2 and Zn.

Manganese
dioxide can theoretically deliver a capacity of approximately 617mAh/g. It
delivers this capacity through a 2 electron electrochemical reaction (each
electron providing around 308mAh/g). MnO2 has been found to be
rechargeable when the capacity has been limited to around 5-10% of the 617mAh/g.
It suffers a crystal structure breakdown as more of the capacity is accessed,
and it inherently forms electrochemical irreversible phases. If the entire 2
electron capacity can be accessed then theoretically it can reach energy
density numbers near lithium-ion batteries. Similar problems are associated
with the zinc electrode, where higher utilization of its capacity causes
dendrite formation, shape change and formation of inactive zinc oxides that
ultimately lead to electrode failure. These are the main deterrent to a cheap
and safe battery that could be a disruptive technology in the energy storage
field.

In this
presentation, we report the breakthrough of reversibly accessing the 2nd
electron capacity of MnO2 by using its layered polymorph called
birnessite mixed with bismuth oxide (Bi-birnessite) and intercalating the
layers with Cu ions (1). Bi-birnessite’s undergo conversion reactions in
alkaline electrolyte and ultimately form electro-inactive hausmannite (Mn3O4)
because of its poor charge transfer characteristics. Intercalating the layers
of Bi-birnessite with Cu ions is shown to improve its charge transfer
characteristics dramatically and regenerate its layered structure reversibly
for thousands of cycles as shown in Figure 1. We also present a case of
Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite’s applicability in practical batteries by cycling
the material at high areal capacities (10-29mAh/cm2) for thousands
of cycles at C-rates that are of interest in the battery community.

For true applicability in
practical energy dense batteries its pairing with a Zn anode is essential. The
use of Zn anodes has also presented problems as it is the source of zincate
ions in electrolyte that react with the cathode, MnO2, to form
electro-inactive phase called haeterolite (ZnMn2O4). The
best reported cycle life data for high depth-of-discharge (DOD) birnessite
cathodes with Zn anodes had been 50 cycles till our recent publication, which
showed over 90 cycles achieving 140Wh/L.

In this presentation, we
also report the effect of zincate ions on the Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite
cathodes beyond 100 cycles (2). The Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite cathodes when
paired with Zn anodes are shown to deliver 160Wh/L and cycle reversibly for over
100 cycles. The Cu ions play an important role in mitigating the detrimental
effect of zincate ions in the 100 cycles; however, the zincate ions eventually
poison the cathode to form ZnMn2O4. The mechanism through
which ZnMn2O4 is formed is presented in detail with the
aid of electroanalytical and spectroscopic methods.  A solution of trapping the
zincate ions is also presented, where the membrane that is used successfully
traps the zincate ions from interacting with the cathode and thus, extend cycle
life to over 900 cycles as shown in Figure 2. This is the best reported cycle
life data with a manganese dioxide cathode accessing the near 2nd
electron capacity paired with Zn anodes.

Figure 1. (a) Volumetric
energy density of a Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite/Zn cell. Inset shows the
first 5 cycles of the cell. (b) Energy density comparison of different energy
storage systems. (c) Specific capacity (mAh/g) vs cycle number for the
Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite against a sintered Ni counter electrode. Insets
show specific cycle discharge curves for different wt.% loadings of MnO2.

Figure 2. A
Cu-intercalated Bi-birnessite cathode paired with Zn anode achieving cycle life
greater than 900 cycles with specialized membrane.

References:

1] Yadav, G. G.; Gallaway, J. W.;
Turney, D. E.; Nyce, M.; Huang, J.; Wei, X.; Banerjee, S. “Regenerable
Cu-intercalated MnO2 layered cathode for highly cyclable energy
dense batteries”
Nat. Commun. 8, 14424 (2017).

2] Yadav, G. G.; Wei, X; Huang, J.; Gallaway, J. W.;
Turney, D. E.; Nyce, M.; Secor, J.; Banerjee, S., paper submitted (2017).