By Dr. Cameron Chai
A team led by Dr. Fabio La Mantia, junior group leader of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum’s (RUB) “Semiconductor and Energy Conversion”-group, has planned to commence an aqueous lithium-ion battery development project in March 2012.
Currently available power generation concepts will be unable to meet the electricity demand in the future. Hence, to address the increasing global energy demand, RUB researchers is working on a water-based solution. They developed an energy storage device, which operates at 2 V. The device was developed with reduced cost, which is three times less than conventional devices.
Experts have predicted that the current global energy consumption will increase from 13 TW to 25 TW by 2050. Renewable energies like wind and solar can deliver only 10% of the total requirement, as they are expensive and also the availability is not constant. As a result, demand increases for cheap and efficient systems that can store the energy. The solution is the development of batteries, which are suitable for power grid application.
Though conventional lithium-ion batteries, based on organic solvents, are the standard for the entire range of portable devices, they still have several disadvantages. The batteries are unsafe and highly expensive for application in power supply systems. In addition, they overheat very quickly. Hence, the team focuses on the appropriate combination of materials, aqueous electrolytes, cells and separators that enhance the energy density, lifespan, performance and price-performance ratio of the new water-based lithium-ion battery. The project will receive 1,424,000 Euro grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.