With cobalt and nickel in the spotlight and involved in ethical and environmental conflicts , the IBM technology battery laboratory has discovered an alloy of materials that does not require conflicting ingredients.
As he explains, the materials for this battery can be extracted from seawater , and in the first tests he has shown that it could exceed the capabilities of traditional lithium-ion batteries in terms of cost, charging times, energy density and safety .
Low flammability of electrolytes: the crux of the matter
This battery design uses a cobalt-nickel-free cathode material , as well as a liquid electrolyte, whose combination demonstrated a capacity to suppress lithium metal dendrites during charging, thereby reducing flammability. Something that is considered a significant inconvenience for the use of lithium metal as an anodic material.
Dendrites are the internal cavities that show the deterioration of the battery after several cycles of charge and discharge. Thus, lithium anodes can become problematic due to the growth of dendrites after many of these cycles, which can cause short circuits.
But according to the IBM laboratory they have managed to limit this problem by improving even the technology of lithium-ion batteries.
IBM believes that this new battery has a lower development cost than lithium-ion batteries , faster charging time, higher energy density, high energy efficiency and low flammability:
“Current tests show that it takes less than five minutes for the battery, set to high power, to reach a state of charge of 80%. Combined with the relatively low cost of obtaining the materials, the goal of an electric charging vehicle fast and low cost could become reality. “
The company, which has not offered more details of its battery, also promises that its discovery offers a very high power density, more than 10,000 W / L, and a high energy density: more than 800 Wh / L.
Uses could range from electric cars to smart airplanes and energy networks, as well as electric trucks.
As this discovery is currently in an initial phase of research, IBM Research has joined Mercedes-Benz Research, Central Glass, one of the world’s leading battery electrolyte suppliers, and Sidus, a battery manufacturer, to create a New next-generation battery development ecosystem and undertake the initial stage of commercial development .
Luckily the scientific sphere is advancing by leaps and bounds looking for alternatives to lithium, cobalt and rare earths with sodium, graphene, sulfur, carbon, calcium and even supervolcanic deposits.