A group of researchers at Stanford University has developed rechargeable batteries that can store six times more charge than lithium-ion batteries available today. With the help of this new technology, users would only have to recharge mobile devices once a week and an electric vehicle would be able to travel six times as far on a single charge. These would be the two main benefits of the research.
At the heart of the research are the so-called alkaline metal chlorine batteries. The researchers tried a continuous conversion of sodium chloride or lithium chloride to chlorine. Until now, few researchers have tried to explore the potential of a sodium chlorine or lithium chlorine battery because it is very difficult to convert chlorine – a highly reactive gas – into chloride. In cases where scientists have achieved some degree of rechargeability, battery performance has been poor.
The research was published in the journal Nature on August 25th. However, Stanford chemistry professor Hongjie Dai and doctoral candidate Guanzhou Zhu did not plan to create rechargeable lithium-chlorine sodium batteries. They were working to improve existing battery technologies using thionyl chloride.
“A rechargeable battery is a bit like a rocking chair. It tilts in one direction but swings back when you add electricity,” Dai said in a Tech Xplore report.
The researchers achieved 1,200mAh per gram of positive electrode material against a commercial lithium-ion battery’s capacity of about 200mAh per gram.
They hope their batteries will one day help other scientists power satellites and remote sensors, where frequent recharges are not practical. For now, the prototype may be suitable for use in everyday electronics such as hearing aids or remote controls.