The need for efficient energy storage is growing with the proliferation of solar and wind power plants. Energy needs to be accumulated and stored when there is no wind or sun – and today’s lithium-ion batteries are too expensive for this purpose. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and their colleagues from other countries have developed a new type of battery made of inexpensive materials that will help solve this problem.
The new type of battery uses inexpensive aluminum and sulfur as electrode materials, with a molten salt electrolyte between them.
The development should become not only a cheaper, but also a safer alternative for existing batteries. While lithium-ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte that can lead to fires, the new concept did not consider flammable, volatile organic compounds. According to scientists, the new batteries will not require special insulation and anti-corrosion measures.
During the experiments, the researchers proved that their batteries can withstand hundreds of cycles and charge quite quickly. At the same time, the cost of such batteries was approximately one-sixth that of lithium-ion batteries.
The salt used as an electrolyte has another additional advantage. It reduces the risk of short circuit and maintains the efficiency of the battery during its operation. In addition, such a battery does not require an external heat source to maintain its operating temperature.
According to scientists, their development will be ideal for powering one house, or a small or medium-sized enterprise. They can also be used for electric vehicle charging stations.