A new research finding at IBM Research could help eliminate the use of heavy metals in battery production, and this could lead to a paradigm shift in the long-term sustainability of many elements in our energy ecosystem.
Generally, heavy metals like nickel and cobalt are used in batteries, which pose a serious threat to our environment and are hazardous. Cobalt, which is largely available in Central Africa, has come under some serious fire for exploitative extraction processes.
The research team at IBM Research has come up with a new battery that does not use any heavy metals with sourcing concerns.
The latest innovation in which three new materials have been used has never been combined in a battery before. According to IBM, the materials used for this battery can be extracted from seawater, and there is no need to use other invasive methods for extracting the materials, which makes it a viable alternative as compared to the normal batteries in use.
It’s not just the materials that make the innovation unique. IBM claims that initial tests have proved that it is more efficient and cost-effective than the lithium-ion batteries. It also has faster charging time, higher power, and energy density as compared to the more prevalent lithium-ion batteries.
The composition of the battery consists of cobalt and nickel-free cathode material, as well as a safe liquid electrolyte with a high flash point.
The unique combination of the cathode and electrolyte solution can suppress lithium-ion dendrites during charging leading to less heating, which is considered to be the main drawback of lithium-ion batteries, according to the company.
IBM claims that the battery requires only five minutes to reach 80% of the total charge, and this bodes well for the future of electric mobility.
To take that next step in battery development, IBM Research has joined hands with Mercedes Benz Research and Development, North America; Central Glass, one of the top electrolyte suppliers in the world; and Sidus, a battery manufacturer to develop the complete ecosystem for battery development.
As per the company’s blog, the research team at IBM Research is also using artificial intelligence (AI) called semantic enrichment to further enhance the battery potential by identifying new and high-performance battery materials.
The team at IBM Research has used a multidisciplinary approach combining materials science, molecular chemistry, electrical engineering, advanced battery lab equipment, and computer simulation to come up with this latest innovation in material science that might pave the way for the most powerful battery soon.
Recently, researchers at Deakin University came up with an innovative way to extract silicon for discarded solar panels and turn it into nano silicon for batteries. This latest innovation is going to solve one of the biggest problems that are preventing photovoltaic cells from being recycled.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other institutions came out with a new class of liquids that will enhance the efficiency and stability of supercapacitors. They have also developed a method to reduce the flammability of these devices.