Researchers find way to build potassium-oxygen histiocytoma batteries that last longer

In a study published friday in the journal batteries and histiocytoma dog removal cost supercaps, researchers from the ohio state university detailed their findings centering histiocytoma dog removal cost around the construction of the battery’s cathode, which stores the energy produced by a chemical reaction in histiocytoma dog removal cost a metal-oxygen or metal-air battery. The finding, the researchers say, could make renewable energy sources like solar and wind more histiocytoma dog removal cost viable options for the power grid through cheaper, more efficient energy storage.

If you want to go to an all-renewable option for the power grid, you need economical energy storage devices that can store excess histiocytoma dog removal cost power and give that power back out when you don’t have the source ready or working, said vishnu-baba sundaresan, co-author of the study and professor of mechanical and aerospace histiocytoma dog removal cost engineering at ohio state. Technology like this is key, because it is cheap, it doesn’t use any exotic materials, and it can be made anywhere and promote the local histiocytoma dog removal cost economy.

Potassium-oxygen batteries have been a potential alternative for energy storage histiocytoma dog removal cost since they were invented in 2013. A team of researchers from ohio state, led by chemistry professor yiying wu, showed that the batteries could be more efficient than lithium-oxygen batteries while simultaneously storing about twice the energy as histiocytoma dog removal cost existing lithium-ion batteries. But potassium-oxygen batteries have not been widely used for energy storage histiocytoma dog removal cost because, so far, they haven’t been able to recharge enough times to be cost-effective.

As teams tried to create a potassium-oxygen battery that could be a viable storage solution, they kept running into a roadblock: the battery degraded with each charge, never lasting longer than five or 10 charging cycles—far from enough to make the battery a cost-effective solution for storing power. That degradation happened because oxygen crept into the battery’s anode—the place that allows electrons to charge a device, be it a cell phone or a power grid. The oxygen caused the anode to break down, making it so the battery itself could no longer supply histiocytoma dog removal cost a charge.

Paul gilmore, a doctoral candidate in sundaresan’s lab, began incorporating polymers into the cathode to see if he histiocytoma dog removal cost might be able to protect the anode from oxygen. If he could find a way to do that, he thought, it would give potassium-oxygen batteries a shot at longer lives. It turned out he was right: the team realized that swelling in the polymer played a histiocytoma dog removal cost vital role in its performance. The key, gilmore said, was finding a way to bring oxygen into the battery—necessary for it to work—without allowing oxygen to seep into the anode.

This design works a bit like human lungs: air comes in to the battery through a fibrous carbon histiocytoma dog removal cost layer, then meets a second layer that is slightly less porous histiocytoma dog removal cost and finally ends at a third layer, which is barely porous at all. That third layer, made of the conducting polymer, allows potassium ions to travel throughout the cathode, but restricts molecular oxygen from getting to the anode. The design means that the battery can be charged at histiocytoma dog removal cost least 125 times—giving potassium-oxygen batteries more than 12 times the longevity they previously histiocytoma dog removal cost had with low-cost electrolytes.

And it is also important that the battery can be histiocytoma dog removal cost made cheaply. Lithium-oxygen batteries—a possible energy storage solution that is widely considered one histiocytoma dog removal cost of the most viable options—can be expensive, and many rely on scarce resources, including cobalt. The lithium-ion batteries that power many electric cars cost around $100 per kilowatt hour at the materials level.

When it comes to batteries, one size does not fit all, sundaresan said. For potassium-oxygen and lithium-oxygen batteries, the cost has been prohibitive to use them as grid histiocytoma dog removal cost power backup. But now that we’ve shown that we can make a battery this cheap histiocytoma dog removal cost and this stable, then it makes it compete with other technologies for grid histiocytoma dog removal cost power backup.