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Rechargeable aluminium-air battery uses salt water

Posted: 12 Jan 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fuji Pigment  aluminium-air battery  electrolyte  lithium-ion 

Fuji Pigment Co. Ltd has announced a novel type of aluminium-air battery that can be recharged by refilling salty or normal water. The battery has a modified structure that promises longer battery lifetime, the company stated, which is estimated at a minimum of 14 days.

Ryohei Mori invented the aluminium-air battery that uses a modified the aluminium-air battery structure by placing ceramic and carbonaceous materials between aqueous electrolyte and electrodes as an internal layer. Owing to the battery's modified structure, anode corrosion and by-product accumulation were suppressed, which resulted in longer battery lifetime.

The 0.7-0.8V aluminum-air battery, which provides 400-800mA/cell, claims to have a theoretical specific energy level of 8,100Wh/kg and has the second largest capacity among various types of potential secondary batteries. Theoretical specific energy of a commercialised lithium-ion battery is 120-200Wh/kg, which means that the aluminium-air battery possesses theoretical capacity more than 40 times as large as that of a lithium-ion battery.

Although commercialised rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are widely used in mobile phones, laptop computers and similar electronic devices, their energy density is still insufficient to permit their use in electric vehicles at an industrial level with economical cost. As of the present, the highest energy storage technologies developed by researchers are metal-air batteries. Several metal-air batteries such as lithium, iron, aluminium, magnesium and zinc-air, etc. have been investigated due to their promising energy densities. Among them, aluminium is an abundant, attractive anode material for energy storage and conversion because of its high specific capacity, highly negative standard electrode potential. In addition, aluminium is the most recycled metal in the world and is economically cheap.

The innovative battery claims to overcome a major barrier to commercialisation, which is the high corrosion rate of aluminium during electrochemical process. In addition, by-products such as Al2O3 and Al(OH)3 accumulate at electrodes and hinder further battery reaction.

Fuji Pigment said the aluminium-air battery can be manufactured and can work in an ambient atmosphere because it is stable in ambient air conditions so there is no need to worry about dangers of explosion or flammability like that of a lithium-ion battery.

All the materials used in the battery's construction such as the electrode and electrolyte are safe and cheap to produce.

Fuji Pigment is planning to commercialise the aluminium-air battery by spring 2015.

- Paul Buckley
  EE Times Europe

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