A major breakthrough! Scientists develop a new type of anode-free zinc battery

by:CTECHi     2021-07-21

Lithium Grid News: Power companies need a safe and cost-effective way to store energy for future use. A large number of lithium-ion batteries can indeed accomplish this job, but they have safety issues and limited raw materials. In response to this problem, a group of researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) developed a prototype of an anode-free zinc-based battery that uses low-cost, natural-rich zinc as a raw material. The results of this research have been published in Nano Letters, a peer-reviewed scientific monthly journal published by the American Chemical Society on the 20th of this month.

Due to its safety and high energy density, water-based zinc-based batteries have been used for grid energy storage. In addition, the materials used to make them are abundant. However, the currently developed rechargeable zinc battery requires a thick zinc metal anode, which contains a large excess of zinc, thereby increasing the cost. In addition, the anode easily forms dendrites (zinc metal crystals deposited on the anode during charging), which may cause a short circuit in the battery. In the course of this research, scientists questioned whether a zinc anode is really needed. They drew inspiration from their previous exploration of 'no anode' lithium and sodium metal batteries and decided to create a battery in which the zinc-rich cathode is the only source of zinc plating on the copper current collector.

Specifically, the researchers used a manganese dioxide cathode pre-intercalated with zinc ions, an aqueous solution of zinc trifluoromethanesulfonate and a copper foil current collector. When charging, the metal zinc is plated on the copper foil, and the metal is peeled off during discharge, releasing electrons that power the battery. In order to prevent the formation of dendrites, the researchers coated a layer of carbon nanodisks on the copper current collector. This layer promotes uniform galvanizing, thereby preventing the formation of dendrites and improving the galvanizing and stripping efficiency.

It is said that the battery has the characteristics of high efficiency, high energy density, and good stability, and the storage capacity can still maintain 62.8% after 80 charge and discharge cycles. The researchers said, 'The design of anode-free batteries opens up a new direction for the use of water-based zinc-based batteries in energy storage systems.'

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