Researchers from Japan have developed an air battery that works without metal electrodes. Although the new battery is not yet suitable for practical use, it could drastically extend the lifespan of batteries in small electronic devices in the future. The backgrounds.

Batteries should have a high capacity, last a long time and, ideally, be environmentally friendly – and at the lowest possible price. Lithium-ion batteries are primarily used for electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. However, research is making efforts to continually extend their lifespan.

One approach is air batteries. In the past, scientists have celebrated some successes in this area. Now a group of Japanese researchers has apparently achieved a new breakthrough.

Air battery stores many times the power of previous batteries

Like the Japanese research group led by Kenji Miyatake in the science magazine applied Chemistry reported that they have developed a new type of air battery. It contains organic molecules and solid electrolytes.

Scientists have already tested lithium-air batteries before. With more than 1,000 milliamperes hours per gram, they store several times the amount of electricity of conventionally available lithium-ion batteries. However, they used liquid electrolytes and only had a low cycle stability. The researchers from Japan now want to solve these problems with their prototype.

Air battery consists mostly of organic elements

To do this, they do not use electrochemically active metallic electrodes and thus avoid the formation of sharp dendrites when charging and discharging the battery. “A proof-of-concept study was carried out for a rechargeable air battery (SSAB) with redox-active 2,5-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoquinone (DHBQ) and its polymer (PDBM) as well as a proton-conducting polymer (Nafion),” the release says. These are mainly organic substances.

According to the researchers, the polymer PDBM in particular supports the discharge capacity of the air battery. It achieved a gravimetric capacity of 176.1 milliampere hours per gram. After 30 charging cycles, the research group was still able to demonstrate a capacity of 78 percent.

In fact, these values ​​show that the air battery from Japan is far from being ready for practical use. However, the practical test of the prototype proves for the first time that an air battery with solid electrolytes actually works.

New battery from Japan could power electronic devices for longer

In order to make the new air battery usable in everyday life, the research group must, among other things, further increase the cycle stability. Theoretically, up to 60,000 cycles are possible with a capacity of 200 milliamp hours per gram. “The air batteries had a high performance that was close to the theoretical maximum capacity,” the researchers said in their article.

If the Japanese scientists improve their development even further, the air battery could extend the lifespan of batteries in small electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets in the future. According to Miyatake, it should also contribute to the realization of a carbon-free society.

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