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New electrolyte salts raise safety and performance bar for lithium ion batteries

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 13:59 -- Paul Crompton

Scientists at the Monash University School of Chemistry in Australia have developed an alternative to hexafluorophosphate salt for lithium-ion battery electrolytes.

The electrolyte was developed under the leadership of professor Doug MacFarlane and Dr Mega Kar alongside battery developer Calix.

The synthesised battery grade fluoroborate salt, made using a recrystallisation process, was found to be stable even when exposed to air. 

When used in a battery with lithium-manganese-oxide cathodes, the cell achieved more than 1,000 cycles, even after atmospheric exposure, reported the team.

The salt was also found to be very stable on aluminium current collectors at higher voltages, as required for next generation batteries.

The research was published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

Professor MacFarlane said: “The lithium salt currently being used in lithium ion batteries is lithium hexafluorophosphate, which poses a fire and safety hazard as well as toxicity.

“In smaller portable devices, this risk can be partially mitigated. However, in a large battery pack, such as electric vehicle and outdoor grid scale energy storage systems, the potential hazard is much intensified. Higher voltage and power batteries are also on the drawing board but cannot use the hexafluorophosphate salt. ”

The research is a result of a collaborative effort within the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for Future Energy Storage Technologies.

Calix is a Victoria/NSW-based company that produces manganese-based battery materials from Australian sourced minerals. 

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