Researchers around the world are trying to find new ways to enhance the size of conventional lithium-ion batteries (that are mostly used in mobile phones and laptops) and to increase their efficiency.
A team at Fudan University, Shanghai, China, discovered how to improve the performance of water-based lithium-ion batteries by removing oxygen from the power cells. These batteries also have great potential for large-scale applications such as storing the energy from solar panels and wind turbines.
Unlike conventional solvent-based batteries which are made of toxic and flammable organic solvents (in cases of overcharging or short-circuiting they can rupture or catch fire), water-based lithium-ion batteries are much more safer and cheaper. Until now, though, these aqueous cells have been losing about 50 percent of their storage capacity after 100 recharge cycles.
The Chinese research team used carbon-coated electrodes of lithium titanium phosphate and lithium iron phosphate and ensured that the cells were as oxygen-free as possible. After all of these modifications, the battery performance drastically improved, being capable to retain 90% of their capacity after being discharged and recharged over 1000 times.