High-rate lithium ion batteries with long cycling lives can provide electricity grid stabilization services in the presence of large fractions of intermittent generators, such as photovoltaics. Engineering for high rate and long cycle life requires an appropriate selection of materials for both electrode and electrolyte and an understanding of how these materials degrade with use. High-rate lithium ion batteries can also facilitate faster charging of electric vehicles and provide higher energy density alternatives to supercapacitors in mass transport applications.
High-rate lithium ion batteries can play a critical role in decarbonizing our energy systems both through their underpinning of the transition to use renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaics, and electrification of transport. Their ability to be rapidly and frequently charged and discharged can enable this energy storage technology to play a key role in stabilizing future low-carbon electricity networks which integrate large fractions of intermittent renewable energy generators. This decarbonizing transition will require lithium ion technology to provide increased power and longer cycle lives at reduced cost. Rate performance and cycle life are ultimately limited by the materials used and the kinetics associated with the charge transfer reactions and ionic and electronic conduction. We review material strategies for electrode materials and electrolytes that can facilitate high rates and long cycle lives and discuss the important issues of cost, resource availability and recycling.