Calcium Might Beat Graphene to the Battery Punch
Calcium. When you think of it, you think of bones, teeth, milk and cheese. You do not think of battery technology, and yet very soon it could be making our batteries better, safer, and helping save our planet.
A new chemical has been synthesized that could soon lead to the manufacturing of calcium-based battery technology. As you might know, our current lithium-ion batteries pose risks in the form of fire hazards, as well as containing toxic substances you don’t want to see on the outside of the battery.
“Batteries with anodes made of calcium — a more abundant substance — might be more sustainable and safer than batteries with lithium anodes. But researchers working on calcium batteries have lacked a suitable electrolyte, the medium through which electrical charge flows inside a battery.
Zhirong Zhao-Karger at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm in Germany and her colleagues reacted a calcium compound with a fluorine-containing compound to create a new type of calcium salt. The resulting material conducted electricity more effectively than any calcium-based electrolyte yet reported. It also efficiently conducted ions at a higher voltage than other calcium-based electrolytes.” (Nature)
It could lead to safer and more efficient batteries in solar energy systems and industrial-scale energy systems. Whether it’ll make its way down to consumer technology remains to be seen, but it’s exciting seeing so much progress in the battery sphere – particularly after it feels like mobile technology’s battery tech has stalled so much in recent years.
Who knows? A year or two from now and we could be wielding phones with revolutionary new batteries!