New Battery Technology: 4 Battery Discoveries to Watch
Nowadays, the demand for batteries continues to grow exponentially. This demand stems from the world’s shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, which is where energy storage solutions like batteries come in.
Currently, lithium batteries are the most popular choice in a variety of applications. However, this metal is difficult and expensive to mine. The extraction process isn’t fast enough to meet the market’s increasing demand. Not to mention, they also have negative health and environmental impacts.
As such, researchers are exploring alternatives to lithium batteries. Read on to know more about new battery technologies that can help solve the problems with lithium-powered batteries.
4 Battery Technologies That Can Change The Future
1. Solid-state batteries
Solid-state batteries have introduced a new battery design. Ions pass between electrodes through the liquid electrolyte in modern lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries—a process known as ionic conductivity.
However, all-solid-state batteries have replaced these liquid electrolytes with a solid compound that still allows lithium ions to move inside.
One of the significant benefits this battery provides is a positive shift in cell and battery safety. Solid electrolytes are non-flammable in a heated setting, unlike liquid ones. In situations where the temperature is down to -30°C, the solid electrolytes can still operate and maintain high conductivity.
Due to their non-combustible or self-igniting-resistant nature, solid-state battery packs won’t require as much safety monitoring equipment. This translates to faster charging time and greater energy capacity.
Solid-state batteries also use novel materials high in voltage and capacity, resulting in denser but lighter batteries with a longer shelf-life due to decreased self-discharge. These batteries are capable of reaching 75% charge within just 15 minutes upon plugging. In other words, you can lessen the strain on your batteries even after numerous charging cycles.
2. Lithium-sulfur batteries
Light active materials are used for this battery technology, where lithium-ions are replaced by sulfur in the positive electrode and contained only on the negative side.
Unlike Li-ion batteries, lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries have no host structures. In its discharging state, the lithium anode is burned while sulfur converts into different compounds. This process reverses when it enters its charging state.
Li-S batteries have a theoretical energy density five times more than that of Li-ion batteries. Considering the scarcity of cobalt and the adverse effects of mining these materials, Li-S batteries are safer for the environment—not to mention, sulfur is far more common. You could even source aramid fibers for the battery’s coverings from recycled bulletproof vests.
Besides, Li-ion cells are unstable at low discharge states. In contrast, the Li-S cells may be kept safely for long periods and shipped even when fully discharged, thanks to the conversion mechanism. This stability enables you to ship the batteries via air freight with minimal risks.
3. Sodium-ion batteries
Sodium-ion batteries, or Na-ion batteries, are a new battery technology that moves away from lithium but carries the Li-ion design. It uses liquid electrolytes as a passageway for compounds inside, replacing the Li-ions with Na-ions.
One key difference this battery technology has from its lithium counterpart is the abundance of sodium. Extracting and purifying this can be cheaper than lithium batteries. Na-ion batteries are also eco-friendly because of their simpler recycling process.
The only thing that might be compromised is their energy capacity. Currently, Na-ion batteries can only house two-thirds of what Li-ion batteries provide at equivalent sizes. However, they compensate for this with their super-fast charging, better cycle life, and increased safety.
They can also retain more than 90% of their performance in sub-zero temperatures of -20 °C. Additionally, the lesser capacity produces a lower heat output than Li-ion batteries.
Numerous battery research and development projects are also underway to increase the capacity of Na-ion batteries. The purpose is to upgrade their energy storage capacity to be at par with lithium batteries.
4. Recycled lithium-ion batteries
Recycling Li-ion batteries isn’t new. However, technological advancements have brought in advanced battery recycling methods that can make the process more efficient. Old recycling processes can take too much time, only getting the cobalt and nickel while discarding other parts.
Meanwhile, newer methods have been developed to sustain the Li-ion battery’s cathodes—the most expensive and important component for proper voltage output. This may be a better alternative than opening up new mines to get Li-ion battery materials, making it more eco-friendly.
Plus, the technique doesn’t just preserve the cathode but also recycles other parts separately, including electronic circuits and battery casings. The first step involves dissolving the cathode in acid, then removing the impurities. Nickel and cobalt are then added to keep the ingredient ratios at optimal levels.
The remaining recycled powder particles have more pores and larger gaps in the center, giving cathode crystals more room to expand. This prevents them from breaking quickly, reducing the rate of battery deterioration.
More pores also indicate a wider exposed surface area, allowing chemicals to react for battery charging. As such, these recycled batteries have much faster charging times.
Powering the Future with New Battery Technology
Lithium batteries are the most popular on the market today. These are used in multiple applications, such as mobile devices, electric vehicles, and more.
However, lithium supply and extraction can’t keep pace with the growing demand. And while there have been new discoveries, the continuous developments in the battery market are a must to facilitate the world’s shift to renewable energy sources.
Having the best lab equipment is essential in advancing battery technology. Vacuum drying ovens, in particular, are heavily used in various stages of battery production. Vacuum drying technology is indispensable in the production of lithium-ion batteries because it ensures the integrity of the cell structure.
If you’re looking for a vacuum oven for battery production, look no further than Across International. Ai carries lab furnaces, ovens, and other lab equipment to help with your battery research and manufacturing. We design versatile vacuum dryers that can be integrated into production lines and research facilities across industries.
Request a quote today on your lab equipment, or visit the Across International blog to know the latest on industrial manufacturing.