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      A long-life rechargeable Al ion battery based on molten salts

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          In this study, we established a rechargeable aluminum ion super battery with high-rate capability using a low temperature inorganic molten salt which is much cheaper, safer and environmentally friendly.


          Affordable and scalable energy storage systems are necessary to mitigate the output fluctuation of an electrical power grid integrating intermittent renewable energy sources. Conventional battery technologies are unable to meet the demanding low-cost and long-life span requirements of a grid-scale application, although some of them demonstrated impressive high energy density and capacity. More recently, the prototype of an Al-ion battery has been developed using cheap electrode materials (Al and graphite) in an organic room-temperature ionic liquid electrolyte. Here we implement a different Al-ion battery in an inorganic molten salt electrolyte, which contains only an extremely low-cost and nonflammable sodium chloroaluminate melt working at 120 °C. Due to the superior ionic conductivity of the melt electrolyte and the enhanced Al-ion interaction/deintercalation dynamics at an elevated temperature of 120 °C, the battery delivered a discharge capacity of 190 mA h g −1 at a current density of 100 mA g −1 and showed an excellent cyclic performance even at an extremely high current density of 4000 mA g −1: 60 mA h g −1 capacity after 5000 cycles and 43 mA h g −1 capacity after 9000 cycles, with a coulombic efficiency constantly higher than 99%. The low-cost and safe characteristics, as well as the outstanding long-term cycling capability at high current densities allow the scale-up of this brand-new battery for large-scale energy storage applications.

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          Most cited references37

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          Sodium-Ion Batteries

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            An ultrafast rechargeable aluminium-ion battery.

            The development of new rechargeable battery systems could fuel various energy applications, from personal electronics to grid storage. Rechargeable aluminium-based batteries offer the possibilities of low cost and low flammability, together with three-electron-redox properties leading to high capacity. However, research efforts over the past 30 years have encountered numerous problems, such as cathode material disintegration, low cell discharge voltage (about 0.55 volts; ref. 5), capacitive behaviour without discharge voltage plateaus (1.1-0.2 volts or 1.8-0.8 volts) and insufficient cycle life (less than 100 cycles) with rapid capacity decay (by 26-85 per cent over 100 cycles). Here we present a rechargeable aluminium battery with high-rate capability that uses an aluminium metal anode and a three-dimensional graphitic-foam cathode. The battery operates through the electrochemical deposition and dissolution of aluminium at the anode, and intercalation/de-intercalation of chloroaluminate anions in the graphite, using a non-flammable ionic liquid electrolyte. The cell exhibits well-defined discharge voltage plateaus near 2 volts, a specific capacity of about 70 mA h g(-1) and a Coulombic efficiency of approximately 98 per cent. The cathode was found to enable fast anion diffusion and intercalation, affording charging times of around one minute with a current density of ~4,000 mA g(-1) (equivalent to ~3,000 W kg(-1)), and to withstand more than 7,500 cycles without capacity decay.
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              Electrodes with high power and high capacity for rechargeable lithium batteries.

              New applications such as hybrid electric vehicles and power backup require rechargeable batteries that combine high energy density with high charge and discharge rate capability. Using ab initio computational modeling, we identified useful strategies to design higher rate battery electrodes and tested them on lithium nickel manganese oxide [Li(Ni(0.5)Mn(0.5))O2], a safe, inexpensive material that has been thought to have poor intrinsic rate capability. By modifying its crystal structure, we obtained unexpectedly high rate-capability, considerably better than lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2), the current battery electrode material of choice.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Materials Chemistry A
                J. Mater. Chem. A
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                : 5
                : 3
                : 1282-1291
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Advanced Metallurgy
                [2 ]University of Science and Technology Beijing
                [3 ]Beijing 100083
                [4 ]PR China
                [5 ]Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy
                [6 ]University of Cambridge
                [7 ]Cambridge
                [8 ]UK
                [9 ]School of Resources and Environmental Science
                [10 ]Wuhan University
                [11 ]Wuhan 430072
                © 2017
                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C6TA09829K


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