Slovenian and Swedish Researchers Develop New Aluminium Battery Concept

Slovenian and Swedish researchers have developed a new concept for aluminium batteries, doubling their specific energy and at the same time reducing environmental damage by using less harmful materials than those currently in use. Two research teams were led by Patrik Johansson and Robert Dominko from the Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana.

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Aluminium batteries have several advantages over current lithium-ion batteries. Among them a high capacity of the metal aluminium anode as well as tried and tested methods of production and processing. This concept can lead to a significant drop in battery prices and reduce their harmful effects on the environment.

At the end of September, the concept was presented in the Energy Storage Materials Journal. The dedicated article says that in previous developments, aluminium anodes and graphite cathodes were used to create aluminium batteries. However, graphite provides too low power consumption to create battery cells with sufficient performance for everyday use. Now graphite has been replaced by an organic nanostructure cathode from a carbon molecule created on the basis of anthraquinone.

The anthraquinone cathode was developed by one of the co-authors of the article, Jan Bitenok, from the Ljubljana Institute of Chemistry, when he was a visiting researcher in Chalmers. According to Niklas Lindahl, another co-author, the team is now working on removing chlorine from the electrolyte. “So far, aluminium batteries have been half as energy-intensive as lithium-ion batteries but our long-term goal is to achieve the same energy density,” the authors concluded in their article.