Texas A&M College researchers have been working with sans metal, water-based battery terminals, and they’re observing that the distinction in energy capacity limit is essentially as much as 1,000%.
How the batteries made of water work
A cathode, or negatively charged electrode, is part of the water-based, or aqueous, batteries that the researchers describe in their research, which was recently published in Nature Materials. an anode, or electrode with a positive charge; and, like traditional batteries, an electrolyte. However, polymers serve as the cathodes and anodes in this water-based battery, and organic salts and water make up the electrolyte.
Through its interactions with the electrode, the electrolyte also plays a crucial role in energy storage by transferring the ions, or charge-carrying particles, between the cathode and anode.
Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus, co-author and professor of chemical engineering, asserts:
If an electrode swells too much during cycling, then it can’t conduct electrons very well, and you lose all the performance.
I believe there is a 1,000% difference in energy storage capacity, depending on the electrolyte choice because of swelling effects.
Due to the polymers’ high discharge voltage and rapid redox kinetics, the electrodes the “redox-active non-conjugated radical polymers” are promising candidates for water-based batteries, according to their paper.
However, the following is mentioned in the abstract of the study:
[L] little is known regarding the energy storage mechanism of these polymers in an aqueous environment. The reaction itself is complex and difficult to resolve because of the simultaneous transfer of electrons, ions, and water molecules.
Aqueous batteries’ future
According to the findings, water-based batteries might be able to prevent battery fires and alleviate potential shortages of metals like lithium and cobalt.
Lutkenhaus went on to say:
There would be no battery fires anymore because it’s water-based.
In the future, if materials shortages are projected, the price of lithium-ion batteries will go way up. If we have this alternative battery, we can turn to this chemistry, where the supply is much more stable because we can manufacture them here in the United States, and the materials to make them are here.
Dr. Daniel Tabor, a co-author and assistant professor of chemistry, stated:
This new energy storage technology is a push forward to lithium-free batteries. We have a better molecular-level picture of what makes some battery electrodes work better than others, and this gives us strong evidence of where to go forward in materials design.
In addition, the researchers carried out computational simulation and analysis, and they will carry out additional simulations to acquire a deeper comprehension of the theory.