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Microbe-Assisted Nanocomposite Anodes for Aqueous Li-Ion Batteries
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
  • Pei En Weng, San Jose State University
  • Alexander Gooyandeh, San Jose State University
  • Muhammad Tariq, San Jose State University
  • Tianyu Li, Texas A&M University
  • Avinash Godara, Texas A&M University
  • Jocelyn Valenzuela, San Jose State University
  • Steven Mancini, San Jose State University
  • Samuel Ming Tuk Yeung, San Jose State University
  • Ruth Sosa, San Jose State University
  • David R. Wagner, San Jose State University
  • Rohan Dhall, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Nicole Adelstein, San Francisco State University
  • Katy Kao, San Jose State University
  • Dahyun Oh, San Jose State University
Publication Date
Document Type

With the rapid increase in the use of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), the development of safe LIBs has become an important social issue. Replacing flammable organic liquid electrolytes in current LIBs with water can be an alternative route to resolve this safety concern. The water-in-salt (WIS) electrolytes received great attention as next-generation electrolytes due to their large electrochemical stability window. However, their high cathodic limit remains as a challenge, impeding the use of low-potential anodes. Here, we report the first biodirected synthesis of carbonaceous layers on anodes to use them as interlayers that prevent a direct contact of water molecules to anode particles. High-aspect ratio microbes are utilized as precursors of carbonaceous layers on TiO2 nanoparticles (m-TiO2) to enhance the conductivity and to reduce the electrolysis of WIS electrolytes. We selected the cylindrical shape of microbes that offers geometric diversity, providing us a toolkit to investigate the effect of microbe length in forming the network in binary composites and their impacts on the battery performance with WIS electrolytes. Using microbes with varying aspect ratios, the optimal microbe size to maximize the battery performance is determined. The effects of storage time on microbe size are also studied. Compared to uncoated TiO2 anodes, m-TiO2 exhibited 49% higher capacity at the 40th cycle and enhanced the cycle life close to anodes made with a conventional carbon precursor while using an 11% less amount of carbon. We performed density functional theory calculations to unravel the underlying mechanism of the performance improvement using microbe-derived carbon layers. Computational results show that high amounts of pyridinic nitrogen present in the peptide bonds in microbes are expected to slow down the water diffusion. Our findings provide key insights into the design of an interlayer for WIS anodes and open an avenue to fabricate energy storage materials using biomaterials.

Funding Number
Funding Sponsor
U.S. Department of Energy
  • aqueous battery,
  • biomaterials,
  • lithium-ion batteries,
  • microbial composites,
  • water-in-salt electrolyte
Citation Information
Pei En Weng, Alexander Gooyandeh, Muhammad Tariq, Tianyu Li, et al.. "Microbe-Assisted Nanocomposite Anodes for Aqueous Li-Ion Batteries" ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces Vol. 13 Iss. 33 (2021) p. 39195 - 39204
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