Lithium is expensive, has major environmental problems and may be at risk of fire,media New Atlas reported. However, this is currently the best solution for battery storage for electric cars and devices, but other alternatives are beginning to emerge, and in fact the promising alternative may be potash batteries.
Potassium is cheap, abundant and often easy to use, which means lower manufacturing and material costs. With all-potassium metal anodes, batteries can be produced that match the energy density provided by lithium.
So far, there is also a problem in lithium batteries: the growth of branches. Over time, as the battery charges and discharges over and over again, a small amount of metal (lithium ether or potassium) begins to attach itself to the anode. This does not happen evenly. Gradually formed a small number of branches (a tree crystal) that eventually grew long enough to pierce the insulating film separating the anode from the cathode and short-circuit the battery. This can cause heat build-up and occasional fires, effectively reducing battery life.
Now, a team of scientists from Insrill University of Technology in New York State says they have developed a self-healing technology that can remove the tree crystals from the anode after you charge the battery overnight, preventing them from becoming too long to cause problems. They believe it is now possible to put cheap, long-life potash batteries into the mass market.
This technology sounds strange because it is essentially a high-rate charge and discharge. By operating in a controlled environment, the researchers say, they can precisely control the heat in the battery, raising it to the point where potassium does not melt, but it activates surface diffusion, shifting the metal to the side. The same research team demonstrated in 2018 that tree crystals in lithium batteries have similar self-healing capabilities, but require higher temperatures.
“The idea with this approach is that at night or whenyou don’t use the battery, you’ll have a battery management system that uses this local heat, which will cause the tree crystals to heal themselves. “I would like to see a model shift to metal batteries,” said Nikhil Koratkar, lead author of the study and a professor of mechanical, aerospace and nuclear engineering at The Rinslie Institute of Technology. Metal batteries are the most effective way to make batteries; With potassium, I’m more hopeful about it. “
The study was published in PNAS.