Feng Lin joined Virginia Tech’s “Curious Conversations” to chat about the chemistry behind creating better batteries for electric vehicles. He broke down some of the current challenges to mass-producing an effective and affordable battery, and shared his thoughts on the potential for coal in helping overcome these hurdles. 

About Lin

Lin is an associate professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Chemistry and the Leo and Melva Harris Faculty Fellow in the College of Science. His research focuses on solid-state batteries, lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries, smart windows, and fuel cell catalysts. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.  

Three takeaways from the conversation

  • Lin describes batteries as similar to sandwiches in that they have two ends — the cathode, the positive electrode, and anode, the negative electrode — and have lithium-ion electrolytes working hard in the middle. 

  • Coal could provide some solutions to battery challenges in the form of the incorporation coal-derived carbon materials into advanced silicon anodes. 

  • Lin’s lab aims to find workable solutions in small forms and then work with a variety of industry partners to scale the solution for commercial use. 

Learn more

Optimizing electric vehicles

Chemistry’s Feng Lin awarded $2.95 million grant to develop new electric vehicle batteries

Developing efficient and cost-effective batteries for electric vehicles

Feng Lin helps lead team asking, ‘How do we develop batteries with long life and fast-charging capability?’

About the podcast

"Curious Conversations" is a series of free-flowing conversations with Virginia Tech researchers that take place at the intersection of world-class research and everyday life. Produced and hosted by Virginia Tech writer and editor Travis Williams, university researchers share their expertise and motivations as well as the practical applications of their work in a format that more closely resembles chats at a cookout than classroom lectures. New episodes are shared each Tuesday.

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