Honda teamed up with NASA and Caltech to create a new battery chemistry that has a better energy density than lithium-ion.

When it comes to batteries, more energy density is usually a good thing and it looks like we’re in the beginning stages of a new type of battery chemistry that’s better than what’s found inside a bog-standard Lithium-ion batteries. According to a press release jointly published by Honda, NASA, and Caltech earlier today (Dec. 7, 2018) scientists from all three collaborated on a new battery chemistry that takes advantage of the inherent properties of high-energy fluoride ion cells for the purposes of charging and recharging.

Fluoride batteries have been around for a quick minute and are nothing new. Due to fluoride’s low molecular weight, theoretically, you can pack more metal fluoride ion cells in a given battery storage space compared to lithium-ion. More ion cells in a battery makes for more potential energy that can be discharged between the negative and positive terminals of a battery.

The one big disadvantage of fluoride-based batteries is that they can only operate at high temperatures to perform. Not the case today thanks to the research from these three institutions. According to the paper they published their findings in,

We report a liquid fluoride ion–conducting electrolyte with high ionic conductivity, wide operating voltage, and robust chemical stability based on dry tetraalkylammonium fluoride salts in ether solvents. Pairing this liquid electrolyte with a copper–lanthanum trifluoride (Cu@LaF3) core-shell cathode, we demonstrate reversible fluorination and defluorination reactions in a fluoride ion electrochemical cell cycled at room temperature. Fluoride ion–mediated electrochemistry offers a pathway toward developing capacities beyond that of lithium ion technology.

It looks like fluoride based batteries before used a solid-state electrolyte but this new liquid electrolyte allows their fluoride ions to “charge and discharge” between two poles at room temperature. If they can demonstrate it repeatedly in a certain operating temperature, the same principles can be applied to batteries based on this chemistry.

If these batteries with this new type of chemistry make it to production, the ramifications for the consumer are endless. Imagine having to charge your phone once a month, electric cars with a thousand miles of range, or laptops that last all week. This can be a potential game changer for all our electronic devices and for electric cars.

Clarity electric motor
Honda Clarity electric motor

Source: Science Mag


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