South Korea’s UNIST has developed a new type of EV aluminum-air flow battery that offers higher energy density and longer cycle life.
The novel electric vehicle (EV) battery technology – apart from being cost-effective and safer – is more energy-efficient than gasoline-powered engines.
UNIST contends that drivers could simply replace their battery packs instead of charging them.
The breakthrough was led by Professor Jaephil Cho and his research team in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST.
Aluminum-air batteries are primary cells, implying they cannot be recharged via conventional means. When applied to EVs, it will produce electricity by simply replacing the aluminum plate and electrolyte.
Considering the actual energy density of gasoline and aluminum of the same weight, aluminum is superior.
“Gasoline has an energy density of 1,700 Wh/kg, while an aluminum-air flow battery exhibits a much higher energy densities of 2,500 Wh/kg with its replaceable electrolyte and aluminum,” says Professor Cho. “This means, with 1 kg of aluminum, we can build a battery that enables an electric car to run up to 700 km.”
The new battery works much like metal-air batteries, as it produces electricity from the reaction of oxygen in the air with aluminium.
Metal-air batteries have attracted much attention as the next-generation battery due to their energy density, which is higher than that of Lithium Ion Batteries (LIBs).
Moreover batteries that use a lightweight metal like aluminum are lighter, cheaper, and have a greater capacity than a traditional LIB.
In the study, the research team has prepared a silver nanoparticle seed-mediated silver manganate nanoplate architecture for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR).
They discovered that the silver atom can migrate into the available crystal lattice and rearrange manganese oxide structure, thus creating abundant surface dislocations.
Thanks to improved longevity and energy density, the team anticipates that their aluminum-air flow battery system could potentially help bring more EVs on the road with greater range and substantially less weight with zero risk of explosion.
Image and content: UNIST