Flexible, fast-charging aluminum-ion battery offers safer alternative to lithium-ion
Researchers at Stanford University have created a fast-charging and long-lasting rechargeable battery that is inexpensive to produce, and which they claim could replace many of the lithium-ion and alkaline batteries powering our gadgets today. The prototype aluminum-ion battery is also safer, not bursting into flames as some of its lithium-ion brethren are wont to do.
The prototype battery features an anode made of aluminum, a cathode of graphite and an ionic liquid electrolyte, all packed within a flexible, polymer-coated pouch. And unlike lithium-ion batteries, which can short circuit and explode or catch fire when punctured, the aluminum-ion battery will actually continue working for a short while before not bursting into flames.
“The electrolyte is basically a salt that’s liquid at room temperature, so it’s very safe,” said Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study.
Improved safety is great, but what many people want is a reduction in recharge times. The aluminum-ion battery hits the target here, too, with the Stanford team claiming “unprecedented charging times” of just one minute for recharging the prototype battery.
What about durability? The aluminum-ion battery has you covered there, too. Unlike typical lithium-ion batteries that last around 1,000 charge-discharge cycles, or other aluminum-ion battery lab attempts that usually died after just 100 cycles, the Stanford researchers claim their battery stood up to 7,500 cycles without a loss of capacity. This would make it attractive for storing renewable energy on the electrical grid.
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