Indian technology company Log 9 Materials, an offshoot of the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, has developed a metal air battery with an energy density ten times that of conventional lithium-ion.
The battery uses water as fuel and requires “refilling” every 100 kilometers, thanks to its use of graphene.
The only part of the battery requiring regular replacement is an aluminium anode, which needs to be replaced every 1000 kilometers and can be recycled.
The benefits of the technology include the eliminated need for recharging, charging stations and related infrastructure, as well as zero emissions.
Further benefits extend to smart energy generation and storage, and decreased reliance on limited elements such as cobalt.
The concept is not a new one. Several companies have been working towards similar technologies and the concept has drawn the interest and attention of Tesla, currently the leader in EV vehicle market share globally.
The metal air batteries use aluminium as an anode and air (oxygen) as a cathode. Graphene has proven to be an excellent material to facilitate air transfer, thanks to its high porosity. Water provides a low-cost electrolyte.
There are challenges to the technology however, including the inevitable loss of battery performance due to corrosion, thus plans for prototype use in mobility applications is planned for 2020, following initial offerings for stationary applications.
Batteries using this new technology are expected to be on par, or cheaper than current Lithium ion-based technology.