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Scientists invented recyclable “water batteries”

A global team of researchers and industry collaborators led by RMIT University has developed recycled “water batteries” that do not catch fire or explode. Lithium-ion energy storage devices dominate the market due to their technological maturity, but their suitability for large grid energy storage is limited due to safety concerns regarding volatile materials within them.

Principal investigator Emeritus Professor Tianyi Ma said their batteries are at the forefront of new water-based energy storage, with breakthroughs that greatly improve the performance and lifespan of the technology.

“What we designed and built are called aqueous metal ion batteries – or we might call them water batteries,” said Ma, from RMIT’s School of Science.

The team uses water to replace organic electrolytes that allow electric current to flow between positive and negative terminals; This means that the batteries cannot catch fire or explode, unlike their lithium-ion counterparts.

“By solving end-of-life disposal problems faced by consumers, industry and governments around the world with advanced energy storage technologies, our batteries can be safely dismantled and the materials reused or recycled,” Ma said.

According to him, the simplicity of the production processes of water batteries helped make mass production possible.

“We use materials such as magnesium and zinc, which are abundant in nature, are cheap and less toxic than alternatives used in other types of batteries, which help reduce production costs and reduce risks to human health and the environment.”

What is the energy storage and life cycle potential?

The team produced a series of small test batteries for multiple peer-reviewed studies to address various technological challenges, including increasing energy storage capacity and lifetime.

In his last published work Advanced MaterialsThey tackled the big problem of growing destructive dendrites, which are sharp metal formations that can cause short circuits and other serious malfunctions. The team coated the affected parts of the battery with a protective layer of a metal called bismuth and its oxide (also known as rust) that prevented dendrites from forming.


“Our batteries now last significantly longer compared to commercial Li-ion batteries on the market, making them ideal for high-speed, intensive use in real-world environments. With impressive capacity and extended lifespan, we have not only developed advanced battery technology but also adapted our design to solar “By successfully integrating it with batteries, we have created efficient and stable renewable energy storage.”

The team’s water battery closes the gap with lithium-ion technology in terms of energy density and aims to use as little space as possible per unit of power. “We recently produced a magnesium-ion water battery with an energy density of 75 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh kg-1), which is up to 30% less than Tesla’s newest car batteries.”

This study was published on: sm A. ll Structures.

“The next step is to increase the energy density of our water batteries by developing new nanomaterials as electrode materials.”

Magnesium may be the material of choice for future water batteries, Ma said.

“Magnesium-ion aqua batteries could replace lead-acid batteries in the short term (e.g. one to three years) and potentially replace lithium-ion batteries in the long term five to 10 years from now. Magnesium is lighter than alternative metals, including zinc and nickel “It has a higher potential energy density and will enable faster charging of batteries and better support power-intensive devices and applications.”

Potential applications

Ma said the team’s batteries are well-suited for large-scale applications, making them ideal for grid storage and renewable energy integration, especially from a safety perspective.

“As our technology advances, other small-scale energy storage applications, such as powering people’s homes and entertainment devices, may also become a reality.”

The technology is supported by peer-reviewed research, government funding and industry participation.

As part of the ARC Connection project, Ma’s team is continuously developing water batteries in collaboration with industry partner GrapheneX, a Sydney-based technology innovator.

“We also work closely with researchers and experts from renowned universities and research institutions in Australia, the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, China and other countries. This collaboration facilitates knowledge sharing and access to state-of-the-art facilities. This global team “Based on his experience in various fields, we are able to solve complex tasks from different perspectives.”

Source: Port Altele



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