It’s laborious to think about a battery with out metallic, particularly given the rise of lithium-ion batteries. However that’s precisely what a researcher from Louisiana State College Mechanical Engineering (LSU ME) is hoping to develop. Due to a Board of Regents grant, LSU ME Affiliate Professor Ying Wang is engaged on a non-metal rechargeable battery in hopes of changing lithium batteries on Earth and in area.
“Lithium-ion batteries have good efficiency however a number of severe points,” Wang defined in a information launch. “It’s not sustainable and may be very costly, and the U.S. doesn’t have deep reserves for lithium. Additionally, if you’re extracting lithium from mines, you might be utilizing an amazing quantity of water, which has a extreme affect on the surroundings.”
As an alternative choice to the electrolyte in a lithium battery, Wang and her group of LSU ME college students have devised a water-based electrolyte. “Lithium is just not a steady metallic, and the natural electrolyte in a lithium-ion battery might be flammable,” Wang defined. “There have been lithium battery explosions within the information. It is a recurring downside as a result of when lithium batteries fail or overheat, they launch flammable, poisonous gases that may spark a fast-spreading hearth. My group is designing an ammonium-ion battery that’s a lot safer, lighter, extra reasonably priced, and might be biodegradable. It can be made skinny and versatile, so it will possibly twist and bend.”
The ammonium-ion battery makes use of an aqueous electrolyte made up of high-concentration salts that end in a considerably depressed freezing level for operation at sub-zero temperatures in area techniques, in response to the information launch. “The anti-freezing electrolyte might be merely ready by dissolving ammonium salt in water. The salt focus shall be diverse and optimized to attain the bottom freezing level, maximized ionic conductivity, and electrochemical efficiency of the battery,” per the discharge.
May this concept unseat the lithium-ion battery, whose ideas date again 50 years in the past?
Wang is hopeful the ammonium-ion battery might be utilized in area, and the group has already been in contact with NASA personnel. The battery shall be examined underneath excessive situations as is required by NASA, LSU ME reported.
“NASA’s future space-exploration techniques require secure, high-power-density, high-energy-density batteries. Though lithium ion rechargeable batteries have generally been utilized in area techniques, the security points trigger concern and hinder their future functions,” Wang stated. “This examine is predicted not solely to open a brand new path of analysis on non-metal batteries however can even improve NASA analysis and expertise whereas contributing to the general analysis infrastructure, science and expertise capabilities, range in greater training, and financial improvement of Louisiana.”
Final yr, Design Information reported that LSU ME researchers had been working with NASA to make use of additive manufacturing processes to scale back value and lead occasions for its launch autos and propulsion techniques.