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Flexible and Safe Aluminum-Graphite Battery Charges in One Minute


_82161955_89455_webScientists from Stanford University, California, announced the development of cheap, flexible, safe and super fast-charging batteries made of aluminum and graphite, that can give lithium-ion energy storage a run for its money.

The new technology can reach from 0 to 100% charge in less than a minute. It is seen as the technology that will revolutionize not only mobile phones, but also laptops and tablets. Because it is much more eco-friendly than any of its rivals, and cannot catch on fire, the aluminum-graphite battery can one day transform electric vehicles, the air transport and even renewable energy plants.

Apparently, the battery is so resistant, that it will not go up in flames even if a hole is drilled through it. What is more impressive, is that it would actually continue working even after this damage is done to it.

Besides being all of the above, the battery is also super flexible, very light and it can last through 7500 charge-recharge cycles, which makes it the first ever aluminum battery that can go beyond 1000 cycles (typical for lithium-ion batteries). But above all, it is made of readily available and very cheap materials- aluminum makes up the anode, while the cathode is made of surprisingly well performing graphite.

The finding was reported in the Journal Nature, and it attracted huge amount of attention from teams around the world. Of course many were very excited about it and see huge promise in the technology, although there is quite a number of critics that still see it quite far from becoming viable.

Currently, the technology has only one limitation, it produces only half of the voltage of a typical Li-ion battery. This is also what the scientists are planning to improve in the coming few years, showing the world that the dream energy storage is out there, and it is only a matter of time before it hits and transform the market completely.

Image (c) Stanford University

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  1. I have serious doubts about some statements in this article:

    “the aluminum-graphite battery can one day transform electric vehicles”

    Well, I don’t see how they’re gonna transform them with just 40 Wh/kg (4 times less than Li-ion).
    Found this value in their paper “An ultrafast rechargeable aluminium-ion battery”.
    Furthermore, they will be very challenging to scale, as is written in the BBC article, because they get this performance from the very thin graphite platelets but big batteries will require a much thicker electrode.

    “can one day transform […] the air transport”

    No battery can ever beat kerosene on this one, the reason is that kerosene, even when turbine efficiency (35%) is factored in, packs much more energy than any battery (15 MJ/kg vs 5 MJ/kg).
    Lithium-air is claimed as having the energy density of gasoline, well this may be true, but only for a block of pure lithium burned in air, from what you will not get any electricity.
    Knowing that a battery need electrolyte, electrode, packaging and connections, lithium concentration will not be above 10% and this gives between 4.5 and 5 MJ/kg.
    And what matters in aerospace is weight, thus energy density so kerosene will always be the winner.

    “it is made of readily available and very cheap materials”

    Yes, anode and cathode are made from cheap aluminium and graphite but the electrolyte is an ionic liquid and these liquids are the most expensive solvent out there, most are also quite toxic and there is no commercial application to them because of those 2 facts.

    So I don’t see how they will power other things than portable electronics, but the science is still interesting.


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