Researchers have succeeded in producing zinc-ion batteries. They are said to be safer and cheaper than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The backgrounds.
Due to the ongoing expansion of sustainable energy sources, the need for innovative battery technologies is increasing. In addition to the classic lithium-ion battery, many other material combinations have great potential. An example is aqueous and rechargeable batteries made from a zinc-ion mixture.
But despite the great potential, scientists face a challenge. Because long-term use leads to corrosion of the zinc metal on the anode. This circumstance allows a significant accumulation of highly flammable hydrogen gas. This can pose a serious security risk.
Zinc-ion batteries no longer accumulate hydrogen gas
Researchers from South Korea therefore recently proposed a self-regulating battery based on various safety mechanisms. These mechanisms automatically control the production and destruction of hydrogen gas and effectively suppress the pressure increase and loss of electrolyte fluid within the cell.
By deliberately triggering a chemical reaction with the hydrogen gas, the substance breaks down and water is created. The pressure inside the battery remains constant. In the long term, a battery could be created that is safer than previous lithium-ion batteries and at the same time cheaper to produce. Ultimately, the internal pressure build-up was a knock-out criterion for the commercialization of such aqueous batteries.
Market for energy storage systems could grow significantly
The development shows the potential for optimizing previously researched battery technologies. In this way, additional efficient and safe energy sources could be created. Aqueous zinc-ion batteries are likely to play an essential role in our energy supply in the future.
With the results of their study, the researchers solved one of the biggest safety problems with aqueous batteries and represent a significant step towards commercial application in energy storage systems. Replacing lithium-ion batteries with cheaper and safer aqueous batteries could even lead to rapid growth of the global market trigger for such energy storage system.