Labs in the US and abroad are fired up about finding alternatives to lithium ion batteries for energy storage at the grid level. From more stable flow batteries using cost-effective metals to using desert sand for solar energy storage, teams are competing to find cost-effective scalable storage solutions that are robust, durable and fast enough to meet utility needs.
Researchers from Stanford and ITRI in Taiwan have announced the development of an ultrafast rechargeable aluminum-ion battery made of an aluminum anode and a graphite cathode. The team used the layered structure of graphite to allow chloroaluminate negative ions to perform the insertion and de-insertion reactions.
Additionally, they opened the structure of graphite (i.e., graphitic foam) to speed up the charging/discharging reactions of the battery cell. As a result, the battery cell can stand up to 10,000 charge-discharge cycles without capacity decay, and can be charged within one minute.
The graphitic materials used for the battery cell are as flexible and supple as paper, and very stable. The basic component of the liquid electrolyte is aluminum salt, so it is stable at room temperature. The battery can withstand drilling tests during the discharge process and still continue to supply electricity, attesting to its safety.
This breakthrough battery technology will compete with the traditional lead acid battery when applied in large energy storage devices, lightweight electric scooters and motorized bicycles. In addition to small smart devices, aluminum-ion batteries could be used to store renewable energy in electricity grids, electric motorcycles and bicycles.