Step towards better ‘beyond lithium’ batteries
Astep towards new ‘beyond lithium’ rechargeable batteries with superior performance has been made by researchers at the University of Bath, UK.
An approach to develop batteries that store more energy is to use “multivalent” metals instead of lithium. In multivalent batteries, lithium would be replaced by a different metal that transfers more than one electron per ion. For batteries of equal size, this would give multivalent batteries better energy storage capacity and performance.
The team showed that titanium dioxide can be modified to allow it to be used as an electrode in multivalent batteries, providing a valuable proof of concept in their development.
For the study published in Nature Materials, the scientists, an international team from the University of Bath, France, Germany, Holland, and the USA, introduced defects in titanium dioxide to form high concentrations of microscopic holes, and showed these can be reversibly occupied by magnesium and aluminium; which carry more than one electron per ion.
Dr Benjamin Morgan, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, said, “Multivalent batteries are a really exciting direction for battery technology, potentially offering higher charge densities and better performance. New battery technologies are going to be more and more important as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels and adopt greener energy sources.
“We’ve shown a way to modify titanium dioxide to turn it into a multivalent electrode.In the long term, this proof of concept is a possible step towards “beyond lithium” batteries with superior performance,” added Morgan.