The cost of harvesting solar energy has dropped so much in recent years that it’s giving traditional energy sources a run for their money. However, the challenges of energy storage – which require the capacity to bank an intermittent and seasonally variable supply of solar energy – have kept the technology from being economically competitive.
Cornell researchers led by Lynden Archer, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering and the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, have been exploring the use of low-cost materials to create rechargeable batteries that will make energy storage more affordable. These materials could also provide a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which currently dominate the market but are slow to charge and have a knack for catching fire.
The group previously demonstrated the potential of zinc-anode batteries. Now, they have employed a different approach for incorporating aluminum, resulting in rechargeable batteries that offer up to 10,000 error-free cycles.
Their paper, “Regulating Electrodeposition Morphology in High-Capacity Aluminium and Zinc Battery Anodes Using Interfacial Metal–Substrate Bonding,” published April 5 in Nature Energy.
The paper’s lead author is Jingxu (Kent) Zheng, Ph.D. ’20, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“A very interesting feature of this battery is that only two elements are used for the anode and the cathode – aluminum and carbon – both of which are inexpensive and environmentally friendly,” Zheng said. “They also have a very long cycle life. When we calculate the cost of energy storage, we need to amortize it over the overall energy throughput, meaning that the battery is rechargeable, so we can use it many, many times. So if we have a longer service life, then this cost will be further reduced.”
Among the advantages of aluminum is that it is abundant in the earth’s crust, it is trivalent and light, and it therefore has a high capacity to store more energy than many other metals. However, aluminum can be tricky to integrate into a battery’s electrodes. It reacts chemically with the glass fiber separator, which physically divides the anode and the cathode, causing the battery to short circuit and fail.
The researchers’ solution was to design a substrate of interwoven carbon fibers that forms an even stronger chemical bond with aluminum. When the battery is charged, the aluminum is deposited into the carbon structure via covalent bonding, i.e., the sharing of electron pairs between aluminum and carbon atoms.
While electrodes in conventional rechargeable batteries are only two dimensional, this technique uses a three-dimensional – or nonplanar – architecture and creates a deeper, more consistent layering of aluminum that can be finely controlled.
“Basically we use a chemical driving force to promote a uniform deposition of aluminum into the pores of the architecture,” Zheng said. “The electrode is much thicker and it has much faster kinetics.”
The aluminum-anode batteries can be reversibly charged and discharged one or more orders of magnitude more times than other aluminum rechargeable batteries under practical conditions.
“Although superficially different from our earlier innovations for stabilizing zinc and lithium metal electrodes in batteries, the principle is the same – design substrates that provide a large thermodynamic driving force that promotes nucleation; and runaway, unsafe growth of the metal electrode is prevented by forces such as surface tension that can be massive at small scales,” said Archer, the paper’s senior author.
Original Article: Aluminum-anode batteries offer sustainable alternative
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- American Manganese Granted Korean Patent for Lithium-ion Battery Cathode Recycling Processon May 18, 2021 at 4:41 am
SURREY, BC / ACCESSWIRE / May 18, 2021 / American Manganese Inc. (TSXV:AMY)(OTCQB:AMYZF)(FSE:2AM) ('AMY' or the 'Company') is pleased to announce that the Korean Intellectual Property Office ('KIPO') ...
- American Manganese Inc.: American Manganese Granted Korean Patent for Lithium-ion Battery Cathode Recycling Processon May 18, 2021 at 1:18 am
The recycling process provides high extraction and purity of cathode metals, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum. The RecycLiCo process was designed with the goal to produce ...
- Superfast-charging aluminum-ion batteries outpower lithium-ionon May 18, 2021 at 1:01 am
Australian company Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) has announced exciting performance test results for a new type of aluminum-ion battery that can charge 10X faster than today's lithium-ion units, ...
- EV batteries that charge 60 times faster: Aluminium-ion tech offers EV range breakthroughon May 18, 2021 at 12:36 am
GMG develops energy storage products using its own production process that produces GMG graphene from methane and not mined graphite, which the company says is high-quality ...
- Indian Oil-Phinergy JV to soon set up an aluminium-air battery planton May 17, 2021 at 8:50 pm
With better energy density and driving range, IOCL is touting Al-air batteries to be a viable alternative to Li-ion, though there are a few challenges.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- History Of The Capacitor – The Modern Eraon May 12, 2021 at 5:00 pm
In the 1890s Charles Pollak found that an oxide layer on an aluminum anode was stable in a neutral ... background with fuel cells and rechargeable batteries to experiment with capacitors with ...
- A Solution to the Aluminum Air Battery Issueon May 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Thus far, the design has only been practical for non-rechargeable batteries. During the electrochemical reaction of the aluminum anode with the electrolyte, the aluminum is converted into a hydrated ...
- Graphene aluminum ion batteries with ultra-fast chargingon April 28, 2021 at 9:19 pm
Researchers from the University of Queensland and Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) are teaming up to develop faster-charging, more sustainable battery prototypes with lifespans ...
- Aluminum: Yet Another Potential Alternative to Lithium-Ion Batterieson April 20, 2021 at 8:40 pm
As the battery charged, aluminum was deposited into the carbon structure and held together in a multi-layered substrate, avoiding contact with the glass fiber separator. This study from Cornell ...
- Stocks to buy with Anil Singhvi: Short-term gains in mind? Himadri Specialty Chemicals and Andhra Sugars are Vikas Sethi pickson January 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm
The detailed quality processes ensure that it is the preferred material for use as a binder in the manufacture of Aluminum anode and graphite ... material for Li ion battery.