Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an aluminum-lithium hybrid battery they believe can boost performance for grid and stationary applications.
The hybrid battery uses aluminium as the anode and a lithium intercalation cathode (LiFePO) to increase capacity, cycling performance and safety.
Researchers have also recommended an acidic ionic liquid electrolyte based on 1-ethyl-3- methylimidazolium chloride and aluminum trichloride.
This is because aqueous electrolyte was deemed unsuitable (because of hydrogen generation) and acid ioninc liquids caused corrosion in rechargeable batteries.
The result of ORNL’s work was published in the journal Chemical Communications.
ORNL hopes the new technology will answer questions over rechargeable aluminium-ion batteries’ electrolytes, cathodes, low cell voltage and poor cycling performances.
Scientists reported their hybrid battery cycled under a current rate of C/5 round the reversible capacities gradually decreased up to around 10 cycles before stabilising and achieving 122 mA h g-1 after 50 cycles.
The paper, whose first author is Xiang-Guang Sun, stated: “We have demonstrated that coupling aluminium and lithium chemistry in one device can deliver high capacity and good cycling performance.
“The safe nature and earth abundance of aluminium, coupled with the safety of ionic liquid electrolytes, make this new kind of hybrid battery very attractive for grid and stationary applications.
“The recent development of new ionic liquid electrolytes exhibiting reversible aluminium deposition/stripping offers new opportunities for rechargeable aluminium-ion batteries, which needs to be confirmed in the future.”