A new rechargeable aluminium battery has been produced by researchers in the US, and according to them the prototype can charge a smartphone in 60 seconds and it’s more environmentally friendly, heavy-duty, and inexpensive than anything presently on the market. And it won’t suddenly burst into flames like certain generally used lithium-ion batteries are capable of... This new technology has done something researchers around the world have been pursuing for decades - it puts aluminium to better use in the high-demand battery market. The benefits of aluminium are many, counting its cheapness, accessibility, low-flammability, and high-charge storage capability. But the challenge in producing a sustainable aluminium battery has been in finding a material for the cathode - the device through which the entire electrical current passes - that can yield enough voltage to withstand it across a whole lot of charges.
The team figured out that if they positioned an aluminium anode - the portion through which the electrical current move in the device – along with an graphite cathode, in a solution of iconic liquid electrolyte. This arrangement was then located inside a flexible, polymer-coated bag, which means it could be fitted in a flexible and bendable device. "The electrolyte is basically a salt that's liquid at room temperature, so it's very safe," said one of the team, graduate student Ming Gong. They tried their prototype out on various smartphones and report that they could completely charge one in 60 seconds - a huge improvement on the numerous hours it currently takes lithium-ion batteries to charge our phones. Plus the battery survives for more than 7,500 recharge cycles, while current lithium-ion batteries can only survive about 1,000 cycles. "This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminium-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles," the team reports.
The battery also offers a harmless choice for those who are a little anxious about powering their devices using a potential fire hazard. Case in point - United and Delta airlines have lately decided to ban bulk lithium-battery deliveries on passenger planes, since it’s just not worth the risk. The battery will be completely described in an upcoming publication of Nature.