Scientists have achieved a significant milestone by developing efficient batteries using zinc, a readily available and cost-effective metal, as an alternative to the rare materials used in lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries, which often contain costly metals like cobalt and nickel, are common in rechargeable devices and electric vehicles. However, the growing demand for these metals has raised concerns about supply and environmental impact. Led by Oregon State University’s Xiulei “David” Ji.
This breakthrough project introduces a new electrolyte that drastically improves the efficiency of zinc batteries. The electrolyte’s protective coating on the zinc component minimizes energy loss and eliminates dangerous chemical reactions that hindered past zinc batteries.
This innovation allows the new zinc batteries to release an impressive 99.95% of the stored energy on each cycle. Not only are these zinc batteries efficient, but they are also safer and more economical than traditional lithium-ion batteries.
The non-flammable electrolyte used in zinc batteries contrasts with the combustible electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, both zinc and the electrolyte materials are more affordable and abundant. Making this technology a promising solution for various applications.
These batteries are necessary for the building of new solar and wind farms, according to Ji. They offer a secure and efficient solution for home energy storage and for communities vulnerable to natural disasters.“
Thanks to this advancement, rechargeable zinc batteries are poised to enter the market in the near future, providing an eco-friendly alternative for sustainable energy storage.