New Aqueous Battery That’s Safer, Cheaper, and Fast-Charging

New Aqueous Battery That's Safer, Cheaper, and Fast-Charging

Jacob Goings

Batteries are extremely important in our everyday lives. The most common type of battery we use is lithium-ion, but these batteries have one big problem: they always catch fire.

Back in 2016, Samsung recalled millions of Galaxy Note 7 phones because they kept overheating and would occasionally catch fire.

All of the Galaxy Note 7s used a cheap and rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which is the culprit for all of the fires. Dr. Donald R. Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explained that while the batteries were being manufactured, tiny bits of metal got into the electrolyte. These tiny bits of metal and the current going through the battery caused it to short, which in turn generated a lot of heat. This heat then caused the fire.

To try and solve this problem, zinc-based aqueous batteries were created. Instead of using the chemical solvent that is used as the electrolyte in a lithium-ion battery, a water-based one was used instead. Two problems with these batteries are that they don’t last long and they don’t perform very well.

Recently, a new 3D zinc-manganese nano-alloy anode was created that solves all of the problems of the old lithium-ion batteries, and the newer zinc-based aqueous batteries. “I wonder if they are going to start to put these in everyday devices,” says Franklin Limkemann, a junior at Lakewood High School.

Xiaonan Shan, the co-corresponding author for the work and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston, said that “it provides a low-cost, high-energy density, stable battery,” and “it should be of use for reliable, rechargeable batteries.”