April 10, 2015
A group of scientists at Stanford University has developed a sustainable, high performing aluminum battery that is supposedly safer and less expensive to produce than the alkaline and lithium-ion batteries commonly used today. Chemistry professor Hongjie Dai and his Stanford colleagues claim that with improvements to cathode material, lithium-ion batteries have the potential to be of commercial use to power devices such as smartphones and other widespread battery enabled products.
“Aluminum has long been an attractive material for batteries, mainly because of its low cost, low flammability and high-charge storage capacity,” reports Stanford News.
Unfortunately, previous attempts at creating a widespread lithium-battery have been met with failure until Dai and his team discovered they could use graphite to build the cathode component of the aluminum battery. To be clear, an aluminum-ion battery consists of a negatively charged aluminum anode and a positively charged cathode, which turns out works well when made of graphite.
The aluminum-ion battery tested to be much safer than lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries can be quite flammable.
Alternatively, not only are aluminum-ion batteries extremely safe but they are also high performing as well. Dai and his team claim that the battery is capable of yielding ultra-fast charing results for mobile phones.
The life cycle of a lithium-ion battery is said to last beyond 7,500 charge-discharge cycles, which is especially remarkable when compared to the 1,000 cycles that a lithium-ion battery can sustain.
The group reports that their current prototypes of these aluminum-ion batteries have generated about “‘two volts of electricity… [which] [is] higher than anyone has achieved with aluminum.'”