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.
“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.
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.
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