Posted on 8 December 2018
by Steve Hanley
8 December 2018 from Steve Hanley
Lithium is an element that is good for battery production but is not the only one. Florid, the most electro-negative element in the periodic table, is also appropriate for the task. In fact, fluoride batteries can be 10 times more energy-packed than lithium batteries. But until now they had to be heated to 150 ° C (300 ° F for those living in former British colonies) to function.
A joint research team composed of engineers from Honda, NASA and Caltech solves this problem by creating a new liquid electrolyte called BTFE that allows the fluoride to dissolve at room temperature, according to EngadgetWhen used in a prototype battery made of copper, lanthanum and fluorine, the new battery can be discharged and recharged at room temperature. The prototype also has a "more favorable environmental footprint" than a lithium battery, according to Honda. There is no word on how good it is in winter when the thermometer is well below room temperature.
Can you imagine what a 10-times higher energy battery can make from batteries to drive in electric cars? The prospects are exciting, no doubt about that. But there are several obstacles that need to be cleared first. On the one hand, the anode and cathode of the prototype battery are trying to completely dissolve in the electrolyte.
This is a problem, but the team is tough in their work, trying to find a solution. If they can solve the problem with the high working temperature, the anodes and cathodes that do not dissolve should be a child's game.
Running samples in the lab is one thing. Turning these breakthroughs into products that are easy to manufacture and commercially possible is quite different. Do not look for fluoride batteries in EG soon. Many laboratory miracles never go out. This could be another dead end in the long battery research line that has never gone anywhere.
Still, the prospects are trembling, and Honda, NASA and Kaltec are not amateurs who are mistaken with bungee burners and glasses in a garage late at night. We need the next step in battery development to happen as soon as possible to move the revolution from clean energy forward, but nature does not give up its secrets on demand. Patience, grasshopper.