Japanese scientists make battery breakthrough

November 29, 2017 1:53 am
This picture, taken at the Bluebus factory in Ergue-Gaberic, western France, on October 12, 2017 shows lithium batteries used in an electric bus. (By AFP)
Japanese scientists have developed a new type of chemical that could bring about a breakthrough in battery making by facilitating greater power storage.
A team from the University of Tokyo developed a new type of flame-extinguishing chemical that can stop lithium/sodium batteries from overheating and catching fire, according to an article published in the journal Nature Energy on Tuesday.
The revolutionary innovation can result in the development of more powerful batteries than are currently available.
According to the researchers, lithium ion batteries — generally used in cellphones and electric vehicles — and rechargeable sodium-ion batteries use organic electrolytes to facilitate the flow of the electrical charge.
Lithium salts and solvents in the organic electrolytes make these batteries more flammable.
The use of nonflammable electrolytes had previously shown to have a negative impact on a battery’s performance.
The Japanese team replaced the organic electrolytes with a solvent called trimethyl phosphate (TMP).
The researchers found that electrolytes containing TMP performed as well as — and in some cases even better than — lithium-ion batteries.
Added salt reduced the volatility in the mixture, meaning the battery remained stable in temperatures up to 150 degrees centigrade.
In temperatures above 150 degrees, the TMP solution immediately extinguished the resulting fire.
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