Stanford develops faster, safer and flexible aluminium-ion battery for smart gadgets

By | April 7, 2015

The dream of charging a mobile phones in a minute is now closer with the latest invention from Stanford University. A team from the university has developed a new aluminium-ion battery that can be recharged in a minute. Also, this battery is not a fire hazard like the present age of lithium-ion battery.

aluminium-ion battery

The prototype of aluminium battery was developed by a team at Stanford University led by Professor Hongjie Dai. The team assures the battery will not catch fire even if tried to drill hole through it. The battery does not only recharge faster but last longer, less expensive and high storage capacity. Although the concept of using aluminium-ion batteries is not a new one, the team has worked on perfecting it by improving charging times and cycles which were the drawbacks of the initial iteration.

Working mechanism of the battery:
The battery has an aluminium anode and a graphite cathode placed in an ionic liquid electrolyte inside a flexible polymer coated pouch. The details about the battery electrolyte has not be revealed. Unlike the usual lithium-ion batteries available in phones that takes hours to charge, the aluminium-ion battery can be charged fully in a minute. Previous research findings were able to achieve only 100 charge-discharge cycles but the Stanford’s version is capable of taking in 7500 cycles. The usual lithium-ion batteries can survive only a 1000 cycle.

The key advantage of the aluminium batteries is their flexibility i.e. bendable and fold-able. Also, the battery is easily compatible with a new age curved smart phone and watches as the battery pack is built of flexible polymer coated pouch.

However, this technology does have a short coming. Currently, aluminium batteries cannot match lithium batteries in terms of voltage. Though it may sound like a perfect tool for the phones, the aluminium batteries are far from completion. For now, it only gives off 2 volts, which does exceed the usual 1.5V of AA or AAA batteries is still significantly lower than lithium-ion batteries. The energy density also needs to be improved for better. Currently, it only has 40 watts per kg, whereas lithium batteries range from 100 to 260. The team is working on to increase the voltage by improving the cathode material.

The research team at Stanford are quite optimistic that their goals can be reached and can bode well for the future smart phone, tablets, watched and other gadgets.