New water-based battery, even for electric vehicles

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Chinese researchers have developed a water-based battery that is claimed to be much safer and more energy efficient than “highly flammable” non-aqueous lithium batteries.

Interestingly, the researchers claim that these new batteries will have twice the energy capacity of conventional lithium-ion options. This has the potential to revolutionise the electric vehicle industry. In addition, water batteries use water as a solvent for the electrolytes, which increases their safety.

Traditional non-aqueous lithium-ion batteries have a high energy density, but their safety is compromised by the flammable organic electrolytes they use, the components that allow the battery to charge and discharge.

Lower energy density

Water batteries, however, generally have a lower energy density than conventional batteries due to the limited solubility of the electrolyte and the low voltage. Researchers in China have developed a high energy density water battery based on halogen multielectron transfer.

A research team led by Professor LI Xianfeng at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), in collaboration with Professor FU Qiang’s group, also at DICP, has developed a bromine and iodine-based multielectron transfer cathode. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Energy, the cathode achieved a specific capacity of more than 840 Ah/L and an energy density of 1200 Wh/L in full battery tests with a catholyte-based cathode.

Battery life was extended to 1000 cycles

According to SCMP, when the researchers tested their electrolyte with a vanadium anode, they found that the battery life could be extended to 1000 cycles, “showing significant stability”. The scientists also noted that the energy density of their batteries even “exceeded that of some solid electrode materials” and could be comparable in cost to conventional lithium batteries.

They said their work is proof that high energy density aqueous batteries can be developed, offering the potential for grid-scale energy storage and even electric vehicles.


Source: nature.com

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