Scientists from Stanford University have developed a product as an alternative to the conventional commercial batteries. The new battery will be partly made of aluminum which will be fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive. On top of that, it is also will be safe as it will not catch fire even though it is drilled through it.
Aluminum was chosen because it is low cost, low flammability and has a high-charge storage capacity. However, the challenge has always been finding the correct material which is capable of producing sufficient voltage after it being recharged and discharged a lot number of times.
The aluminum-ion battery has two electrodes, negatively charged anode which is made of aluminum as well as a positively charged cathode. A lot of material has been tested for the cathode. However, the team has accidentally discovered that by using graphite, which is basically carbon, gives the best performance.
For the experiment, the team has combined aluminum anode and graphite cathode along with ionic liquid electrolyte inside a flexible polymer-coated pouch. The electrolyte is basically a salt which is liquid at room temperature; therefore, it is very safe, safer than the conventional lithium-ion batteries as it does not catch fire unlike the lithium-ion battery.
The battery which the Stanford team has developed can withstand more than 7500 cycles without any loss of capacity unlike a typical lithium-ion battery which only lasts for 1000 cycles.
Apart from Hongjie Dai from Stanford, there are other co-lead authors of the study affiliated with Stanford, including Mengchang Lin from the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute, Bingan Lu from Hunan University, and postdoctoral scholar Yingpeng Wu, Di-Yan Wang, Mingyun Guan, Michael Angell, Changxin Chen and Jiang Yang from Stanford; and Bing-Joe Hwang from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.