Technical Evaluation of Depleted Uranium for Battery Applications Project
Batteries have become an important aspect of energy storage in the United States.
The battery industry has become a $10 Billion a year business. Battery construction
materials include zinc, manganese, lithium, and many more. One metal that
has received sparse attention as a candidate for battery construction material is
uranium. Based on the electrochemical literature, uranium is likely
to have a significantly higher power density than lead which is
commonly used in secondary power batteries. In fact, uranium may have similar
electrochemical properties to lithium.
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) located in the western part of the Commonwealth
of Kentucky contains cylinders with over 5 billion pounds of uranium hexafluoride
(UF6). UF6 will be recycled into uranium and fluoride compounds.
This will provide a large supply of depleted uranium.
- Characterize uranium dioxide’s electrochemical properties in various organic
solvents/lithium salts commonly used in the commercial battery industry. These
experiments will be performed in a glove box where the moisture and oxygen concentration
will be controlled. These tests will mainly consist of cyclic voltammetry
and impedance spectroscopy experiments. This information will be used to construct
a battery with uranium dioxide as the cathode.
- Manufacturing of uranium-lithium compounds in a muffle furnace to mirror
the construction of manganese-lithium compounds commonly used in commercial batteries.
Once these compounds are manufactured, their electrochemical behavior in common
organic solvent/lithium salts will also be characterized. This information
will also be used to construct a battery consisting of lithium-uranium dioxide.
The objectives are to electrochemical data suitable for properly designing two batteries:
- Uranium dioxide as a cathode in a lithium battery and test its performance
- Make a uranium dioxide-lithium compound similar to manganese dioxide-lithium compound
and provide electrochemical data suitable for a similar battery.
- Project Manager
Steve Hampson, Associate Director/Co-Principal
Investigator, University of Kentucky, Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy &
- Principal Investigators
- Paul D. Dunbar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, Paducah Engineering Program
- Rhonda Lee DeSautels, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, Paducah Engineering Program
- Team Members
- Walter Tracinski