Experts are ‘astounded’ by the discovery of cheap lithium battery alternatives following Britain’s Brexit victory.
British scientists are ecstatic after developing “amazing” sodium and potassium ion batteries as potential replacements for lithium-based batteries.
High-performance sodium and potassium ion batteries made from sustainably sourced cellulose have been developed by University of Bristol researchers.
Bristol Composites Institute scientists have developed a novel controllable unidirectional ice-templating strategy capable of tailoring the electrochemical performance of next-generation post-lithium-ion batteries.
The findings open the door to a market for low-cost, environmentally friendly, and widely available alternatives that could one day be used to power electric vehicles.
The team’s groundbreaking achievements, which were developed in collaboration with Imperial College, have been published in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials. The new ion batteries’ performance has been proven to outperform many other comparable systems, and they use cellulose, which is a renewable resource.
“We were astounded by the performance of these new batteries,” said Steve Eichhorn, corresponding author and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Bristol.
“There’s a lot of room for these to be developed further and larger-scale devices to be made with the technology.”
“In light of these findings, we now hope to collaborate with industries to develop this strategy on an industrial scale and to investigate whether this unique technology can be easily extended to a variety of other energy storage systems such as zinc, calcium, aluminum, and magnesium-ion batteries, demonstrating its universal potential in next-generation energy storage systems,” he added.
The study comes at a time when the global demand for sustainable, ethical, and low-cost energy storage is rapidly increasing.
Much of this is due to the push to develop battery-powered transportation systems, which primarily replace gasoline and diesel-powered engines with electric vehicles, but also for hand-held devices like cellphones.
Currently, these technologies rely primarily on lithium-ion batteries, but Mr Eichorn cautioned against an over-reliance on the rare earth element, despite the fact that the UK has significant resources buried in Cornwall.
“Sodium and potassium can be extracted by chemical means,” he told this website.
“The main route is through sodium chloride solution electrolysis (salt solution or seawater).”
“There are a variety of ways to extract potassium as well; some of the most recent are ‘green’ processes using feldspar, which is a common mineral.”
“It’s true that the United Kingdom has lithium,” Mr Eichorn added.
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