Another breakthrough in the field of energy storage comes from scientists at the Colorado State University, who developed a prototype of a next-generation copper foam batteries– a promising cheap and long-lasting alternative to the existing technologies.
The team, who established a new start-up in order to develop and produce the batteries foresees end of final testing and beginning of mass production within the coming year. The copper foam batteries promise to overcome the two main limitations associated with energy storage- these are the low energy and power density.
The secret was hidden in the use of copper antimonide, or copper foam, which acts as a current collector on the anode side. The material has a unique 3D structure, which is both effective in bringing the electrodes closer, and increasing the surface area, which ultimately results in a higher power density. To form the cathode, the scientists filled the space within the foam with dried slurry, while aluminum mesh is used to collect the current on the cathode side.
Because of the low cost of the required equipment, the new batteries will be much cheaper to produce that conventional lithium-ion batteries. In addition, the new energy storage technology will store as much energy as their alternative, but in much smaller volume, they will charge much faster and last much longer.
The inventors point out that copper foam batteries will be much safer for the environment, as the process of manufacturing does not involve the use of any toxic chemicals.
The team sees many applications of the new batteries, starting with electric bikes and portable electronics.