A team of researchers working at the US Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Chemistry Division reported that they have developed a much safer option for lithium-ion batteries. They mentioned in their report a big breakthrough in the Nickel-Zinc (Ni-Zn) technology under which a 3D zinc ‘sponge’ has been used for replacing the customary anode using powdered zinc. The result was a water-based battery that has rechargeability and energy content competent enough with that of lithium-ion batteries.
A senior scientist and also a principal investigator in this project, Dr. Debra Rolison, adds, “Our team at the NRL pioneered the architectural approach to the redesign of electrodes for next-generation energy storage. The 3D sponge form factor allows us to reimagine zinc for the 21st Century.”
For single-usage applications, it is zinc-based batteries that dominate the complete arena, however, these are non-rechargeable under regular conditions because of high tendency of dendrite growth on the inner surface of the battery. A member of this team and also a researcher, Joseph Parker, adds, “The key to realising rechargeable Zn-based batteries lies in controlling the behaviour of the zinc during cycling. Electric currents are more uniformly distributed within the sponge, making it physically difficult to form dendrites.”
US Naval Research Laboratory’s Team developed a much safer option for li-ion batteries
The NRL team was able to showcase performance of the Ni-3D Zn battery in three different ways: one, it increased the lifecycle of single-use cells, two, it was able to cycle cell that are hundred times more content competitive as compared with lithium-ion batteries, and lastly, these cycling cells would have more than fifty thousand short-duty cycles with power bursts at regular intervals, this was very much similar to the manner in which batteries are used in several hybrid vehicles. Dr. Jeffery Long, adds, “We can now offer an energy-relevant alternative, from drop-in replacements for lithium-ion to new opportunities in portable and wearable power, and manned and unmanned electric vehicles while reducing safety hazards, easing transportation restrictions, and using earth-abundant materials.”
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