Stanford Unveils An Aluminium Battery That Can Charge Under A Minute

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An improvement on the conventional Lithium ion batteries, scientists at the Stanford University have developed a high-performance Aluminum battery prototype to feature a lot of specs we ask for.

Al-Ion Battery by Stanford (1)

“We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries.”, says Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford.

The aluminum battery is high performing, allowing over 7500 charge cycles without any capacity loss, and charges in ONLY ONE MINUTE (give or take a few seconds!). These insane features make an Aluminum battery exceptionally durable, giving it a shelf life around seven times higher than that of a lithium ion battery, and improved performance of electronic items.

Al-Ion Battery by Stanford (3)

Many attempts have been made to create a viable Aluminum ion battery, but the success in this particular attempt lies behind the team’s stumbling upon use of graphite as a cathode. “People have tried different kinds of materials for the cathode,” Dai explains. “We accidentally discovered that a simple solution is to use graphite, which is basically carbon. In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance.”

To experiment with the battery, the Stanford team put together the aluminum anode with a graphite cathode in an ionic liquid electrolyte inside a flexible polymer- coated pouch. The result was a successful prototype which can be improved to create a usable Aluminum ion battery that can be employed in electronic items.

Shelf life of current Lithium ion batteries is exceptionally low, with the capacity dropping down to 80% after only 500 charge cycles. Charging time is also exceptionally long, and you cannot function a whole day without a full night’s charge, which makes the aluminum battery a handsome option against conventional batteries.

Aluminum batteries are also safer, eliminating the probability of explosions that is ever present in a lithium ion battery; a feature that can benefit the ever growing wearable technology industry. “[Lithium ion batteries] occasionally burst into flames. Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it,” says Dai.

“The electrolyte is basically a salt that’s liquid at room temperature, so it’s very safe,” adds Ming Gong, student at Stanford and co-lead author of the study.

Al Ion Battery by Stanford

Although the invention looks promising, the prototype developed so far offers low energy density, “Our battery produces about half the voltage of a typical lithium battery,” Dai said. “But improving the cathode material could eventually increase the voltage and energy density. Otherwise, our battery has everything else you’d dream that a battery should have: inexpensive electrodes, good safety, high-speed charging, flexibility and long cycle life. I see this [sic] as a new battery in its early days. It’s quite exciting.”

The research has been published in the online journal Nature, introducing the idea in geekylicious detail.

Source: Stanford News