One of the most crucial technologies for the future is the storage of. Lithium batteries have many defects, including the formation of and the risk of fire, not to mention a shortage of lithium announced for 2025. Researchers from the (MIT), in the United States, have found the perfect solution with a battery at . Their finding was published in the journal .
The researchers adopted an original approach. Their starting point was simply to choose the most abundant materials possible. They therefore opted for theto create one of . For the other, they chose the least expensive element, namely sulphur. Finally, for the electrolyte between the two electrodes, they decided to avoid all volatile and flammable materials and to leave on .
An operating temperature close to boiling water
However, this type of electrolyte generally requires temperatures of several hundred degrees to remain in a liquid phase. The researchers therefore chose from molten salts that operate at the lowest possible temperature. They finally opted for an electrolyte based on chloroaluminate from(NaCL-KCl-AlCl3).
By a happy coincidence, it turns out that this compound is also very effective in preventing the formation of dendrites. Like all molten salt batteries, this one works best at higher temperatures. Charging is 25 times faster at 110°C than at 25°C. This is not a problem because theproduces enough during its charging and recharging cycles. In addition, this temperature poses no risk of fire or explosion because the molten salts are not flammable.
A cheap battery
Thanks to the use of abundant and inexpensive elements, the battery should cost only one sixth of the price of a. The aluminum is the same as that used in aluminum foil rolls for cooking while is a produced by the from . » The ingredients are cheap, and the product is safe – it can’t burn said Professor Donald Sadoway.
The scientists managed to load their prototype in just one minute. Other technologies would work better at the scale of the. However, this battery would be ideal for storing a few tens of kilowatt hours, for example the production of at home or small business level. It would also be ideal for charging stations for electric cars, thus allowing the rapid charging of several cars simultaneously without requiring work on the electrical network.
The technology is already patented and will be developed by a new company created for the occasion, called Ambri. However, before they can proceed to eventual commercialization, they must first ensure that the technology works at full battery scale and go through hundreds of recharge cycles.