Charge Your Phones In 60 Seconds With This New Aluminium Battery
Faster charging batteries that stay charged for longer are what everyone in this day and age desire, so researchers in the US have finally come up with a new aluminum battery that is rechargeable. The team of researchers claims that their prototype battery can charge your smartphone in 60 seconds. Adding to this the new battery is much more environmentally friendly, long-lasting and cheaper than almost any battery available in the market at the moment. Another good feature about this battery is that it is not going to burst into flames like other lithium-ion batteries do.
“We have developed a rechargeable aluminium battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames,” said one of the team, chemist Hongjie Dai from Stanford University, in a press release. “Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it.”
This battery is a safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries
Scientists have been working to achieve a similar tech for decades and finally they have made a breakthrough. Aluminium has so many favorable characteristics that make it a good use for the battery industry which always has had high demand for faster charging batteries. Aluminium is cheap, it is readily available, it has low flammability and the high charge store capacities are some traits that make it a very viable product for this industry. The question is where the whole challenge in making such an efficient battery lied? And why didn’t this get done before? The answer is that the team that came up with this battery itself ‘accidentally came up with the idea’. Another challenge was finding a material for the cathode where the electric current flow comes up with enough voltage to sustain across a whole lot of charges.
Fortunately for the Stanford team, they found the perfect material… by accident. “People have tried different kinds of materials for the cathode,” said Dai. “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.”
The team finally analyzed and figured out that if they placed an Aluminium anode (the part of the whole electrolysis process from where the current enters) and a cathode made up of Graphite, things could actually work. This coupled with an electrolyte in a solution of ionic liquid can make the perfect combination. Furthermore this could then be placed inside a flexible polymer coated pouch, making it easily usable in flexible devices too.
“The electrolyte is basically a salt that’s liquid at room temperature, so it’s very safe,” said one of the team, graduate student Ming Gong. They tried their prototype out on some smartphones and report that they could fully charge one in 60 seconds – a vast improvement on the several hours it currently takes lithium-ion batteries to charge our phones. Plus the battery lasts for more than 7,500 recharge cycles, while current lithium-ion batteries can only withstand about 1,000 cycles. “This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminium-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles,” the team reports.“In our study, we have videos showing that you can drill through the aluminium battery pouch, and it will continue working for a while longer without catching fire,” Dai said. “But lithium batteries can go off in an unpredictable manner – in the air, the car or in your pocket.”
The new battery also possesses another ability i.e it is a much safer option. This option is primarily built for those people who are afraid to power their devices because of the potential fire hazard which is always there when using lithium batteries.
This new battery is quite fascinating for us (and I’m sure for you too) and seems quite promising. But since the battery doesn’t give as much voltage as the lithium-ion batteries it still needs some improvement along the way.
“Our battery produces about half the voltage of a typical lithium battery,” Dai said in the press release. “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 as a new battery in its early days. It’s quite exciting.”
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