Apr, 2021 - By WMR
A team at the University Of Central Florida (UCF) has introduced a design, which checks both boxes, through using seawater instead of flammable and poisonous electrolytes, and a new anode to increase its longevity
Using seawater as the electrolyte solution method will be a safer and greener option, and it is a technique that has seen exciting advancements recently. For example, a team from the of University of Central Florida has already been developing saltwater-based electrolyte batteries for several years, progressively increasing their voltage to both the point that they might power electrical appliances. A battery contains an electrolyte solution which transports electrical charge between both the cathode and anode electrodes. Solvents that are both, flammable and poisonous are contained within this solution, posing a risk of fire and environmental harm when the batteries are drained and discarded.
The UCF team has been working on a water-based zinc battery to achieve a similar goal. However, the growth of zinc on the battery's anode during operation has caused problems for these batteries, reducing their longevity and overall lifespan. The team of researchers claim that have found a solution to this problem by using an anode coated in a zinc-manganese nano-alloy mixture. This concept remained stable over 1,000 hours of charging and discharging cycles at a higher voltage, with no signs of problems.
Yang states, leading author of this study, "We developed a reliable and robust 3D electrode that can be used for seawater batteries in extreme conditions." “We've spent several years working on aqueous batteries and the use of seawater tools, so we're well-versed in the area and know where it can go.”
Yang believes that they used seawater as the battery electrolyte, or chemical medium that allows the electrical charge to pass between the anode and cathode, owing to its availability and potential use in deep-sea energy storage applications. Seawater batteries, for instance, may be used to fuel undersea vehicles. Yang claims their alloy should be used in both water and non-water batteries.