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Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance

Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.

When Zachary Favors, a graduate student at UC Riverside working on developing better lithium-ion batteries, noticed that the beach sand he was relaxing on after surfing in San Clemente, California was primarily made up of quartz, or silicon dioxide, it prompted him to delve a little deeper. Researching where in the US sand could be found with a high percentage of quartz, he ended up at the Cedar Creek Reservoir in Texas.

He collected some of the sand and took it back to a lab at the Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside where he worked with engineering professors Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan. Favors started milling the sand down to the nanometer scale before putting it through a series of purification steps that gave it a similar color and texture to powdered sugar.

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