Stanford Researchers Create Fast-Charging Aluminum Battery

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Researchers from Stanford University are reporting on Tuesday, April 7th that they have developed a new aluminum battery that can be fully recharged in just one minute. They say the new technology will be a safer, long-lasting alternative to many commercial batteries used today.

The research leading to the innovative battery is to be published in the April 6th online edition of the journal Nature.

Statement from Stanford academic

“We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames,” explained Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford and research team leader. “Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it.”

More on new Stanford aluminum battery

Scientists have considered aluminum an attractive material for batteries for many years, because of its low cost, low flammability and high storage Researchers have tried to develop a commercially viable aluminum-ion battery for many years.  The major obstacle is a material that will produce sufficient voltage after many cycles of charging and discharging.

The researchers note that an aluminum-ion battery has two electrodes: a negatively charged anode made of aluminum and a positively charged cathode.

“People have tried different kinds of materials for the cathode,” Dai noted. “We accidentally discovered that a simple solution is to use graphite, which is basically carbon. In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance.”

To create the new energy storage device, the Stanford team put the aluminum anode and graphite cathode, together with an ionic liquid electrolyte, inside a flexible polymer-coated bag.

“The electrolyte is basically a salt that’s liquid at room temperature, so it’s very safe,” commented Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study.

Dai also pointed out that Aluminum batteries are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries used in millions of laptops and cell phones today.

“Lithium-ion batteries can be a fire hazard,” he said.

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