The Top Battery Technologies that can power the Future
The world is facing a power shortage with the depleting non-renewable energy reserves. The search for clean and reliable renewable sources of energy is on. Although there is no denying fact that lithium-ion batteries will define the future of battery technology, however, the concerns associated with it will also increase.
Today, the world is worried about which batteries to buy, alkaline or rechargeable batteries, but at what can we look forward to in the years to come?
Let’s study the basics of battery first
A battery is a collection of one or more cells, each of which has a positive and a negative end or electrode. The positive electrode is called the cathode and the negative electrode is called the anode. Other constituents of a battery include a separator and an electrolyte. The chemicals and materials used for constructing the positive and the negative end of an electrode affect the properties of the battery. It also decides its several variants, like the energy that it can store and its output, how much power it can provide, or the number of times it can be discharged and recharged (in case of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries).
Several battery companies are constantly experimenting with chemistries of a battery that are cheaper, denser, lighter, and more powerful. But, is this it for the battery technology? Can there be no more evolutions that can solve all our problems?
There are a lot of things that the battery technology of the future could do. These include:
• Make electric cars a reality and a no-brainer.
• Make energy storage solutions for grid-scale, cheap and efficient.
• Make a full switch to renewable energy more feasible.
Right now, scientists are studying many battery innovations, all of which promise a spectacle for an energy-efficient future. However, the road to such commercialization is very long, arduous, and filled with many unexpected obstacles.
The new generation lithium-ion batteries
Without a doubt, lithium-ion batteries are the future of battery technology. In such batteries, the movement of lithium ions from the positive to the negative electrode back and forth via the electrolyte. The cathode acts as a lithium source and the anode as the host for lithium. Several different chemistries have been tested to perfect the construction of positive and negative active materials. The most common materials are the lithium metal oxides or phosphates used for the construction of the cathode. Graphite and other silicon and lithium titanium oxides are to be used as negative materials. Furthermore, the critical and scarce aspects of every raw material have to be considered as well.
There are several advantages of opting for state-of-the-art technologies. Lithium-ion batteries have shown exceptional energy density. Their fast charging performance and the device-compatible with the temperature operating window. They can fit several cell designs and chemistries. In addition, Li-ion batteries display several other advantages like the low self-discharge and a very long lifetime and cycling performances.
However, currently, the applications of Li-ion batteries are limited to devices that require high power, their ideal application is being considered for energy storage systems for renewables and transportation mainly, marine, railways, aviation, and off-road mobility). The general idea to extend the support of Li-ions to all such devices and applications that require high energy, high power, and safety as some major mandatory aspects.
The Lithium-Sulphur batteries
The Li-ion batteries contain lithium as the stored active materials and the most stable host structures during the charge and discharge. In the Lithium-Sulphur batteries, there are no host structures. Therefore, while they discharge, the lithium anode is consumed and the Sulphur is changed into a variety of chemical compounds. During charging, the reverse of this process takes place.
The Lithium-Sulphur batteries are very light active materials. Sulfur constitutes the positive electrode and metallic lithium forms the negative electrode. This energy density is extraordinarily high, almost four times greater than that of the Li-ion. Therefore, this combination is great for aviation and space industries’ purposes.
Very soon, the technological world will mature this idea and develop full-scale prototypes for the same. For all those applications requiring long battery life, this technology is expected to reach the market just after solid-state Li-ion.
The solid-state batteries
These batteries embark on a paradigm shift in battery technology. In such batteries, the liquid electrolyte is replaced by a solid compound that allows lithium ions to migrate within it. There have been intense researches conducted to explore the new families of solid electrolytes with high ionic conductivity, resembling the liquid electrolyte.
There are several benefits of this technology, like the improvement in the safety and the battery levels. Solid electrolytes are non-flammable, unlike the liquid counterparts. It uses innovative and high-quality materials that produce more energy-dense and lighter batteries with better shelf life. These batteries are ideal to be used in electric vehicles.
There are several technological progresses still paving the way for this strong technology.