Oxygen-ion battery offers safer energy storage


Battery technology continues to advance. New chemistries are regularly introduced that quickly supplant older technologies as the race continues to produce batteries that are safer, more powerful, and requiring fewer rare and expensive elements.

Now researchers at the Technische Universität Wien in Vienna, Austria, are developing a new battery chemistry that promises to boast many advantages, while offering greater safety, and a greener, more sustainable footprint.

Until recently, the major contenders for battery chemistry were Lithium Polymer and then Lithium-ion. The use of the latter is ubiquitous in many portable devices, although there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Lithium-ion degrades over time, reducing their ability to store and retain a charge. Moreover, they are made from materials that have a negative environmental impact. But one of the biggest drawbacks is the tendency for these batteries to spectacularly burst into flames if they are mistreated or punctured. Over the years, reports of fiery accidents with mobile phones and laptops have frequently featured in the news.

Now the Austrian team is developing an alternative. The new battery type is oxygen-ion. Like all batteries, the oxygen-ion batteries are made up of plates—although these plates are constructed from a ceramic material. The use of non-combustible, ceramic materials means that the fire danger is greatly reduced.

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