The environmentally-friendly aspect for the battery stems from the fact it is made of abundant materials, which means reduced production costs as well as a lower environmental impact, in that the main materials all are recyclable. The batter has been developed by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The intended application is on the larger-scale: to store solar and wind energy.
With production costs, the researchers have demonstrated that fabricating batteries out of aluminium are cheaper compared with manufacturing today’s conventional lithium-ion batteries.
The new development with the battery design is not simply more environmentally-friendly, the concept for the aluminium battery is capable of delivering twice the energy compared with other attempts to create ‘green’ batteries. The use of aluminium helps to deliver a high energy density.
Commenting on these different advantages, lead researcher Professor Patrik Johansson states: “The material costs and environmental impacts that we envisage from our new concept are much lower than what we see today, making them feasible for large scale usage, such as solar cell parks, or storage of wind energy, for example.”
Previous attempts at making aluminium batteries used the aluminium as the anode and graphite for the cathode. However, such designs were limited due to graphite providing only a low an energy content. The new concept replaces graphite with an organic, nanostructured cathode, which is formed using the carbon-based molecule anthraquinone. This material permits the storage of positive charge-carriers and hence a higher energy density.
According to Laboratory Manager magazine, the organic cathode material enables efficient storage of the positive charge carriers from an aluminium and chlorine-based electrolyte—the solution in which ions can move between the electrodes.
The research has been published in the journal Energy Storage Materials. The peer-reviewed paper is titled: ‘Concept and electrochemical mechanism of an Al metal anode ‒ organic cathode battery’.