RUB researchers prepare to develop aqueous lithium-ion battery

February 28, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Dr. Fabio La Mantia, junior group leader of the ‘Semiconductor and Energy Conversion’-group (Center for Electrochemical Sciences) of the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (RUB), has announced plans to develop an aqueous lithium-ion battery.

In March 2012 Dr. La Mantia and his team are going to start a project, with the aim to develop an aqueous lithium-ion battery. They plan to produce an accumulator, which is working at two volt with a three times decreased cost, compared to conventional ones. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is going to support the project with 1.424.000 Euros for five years.

Worldwide energy consumption is predicted to rise up from 13 to 25 terawatt by 2050. Renewable energies are only able to supply ten percent of the need, because they are expensive and not always available. This applies especially to solar and wind energy.

“Fast and economical systems, to cache the current, are in demand”, explained La Mantia. The concept is to produce batteries, which are appropriate for the application in the power grid.

General lithium-ion batteries are based on organic solvents. They are the standard for all portable devices. However, for the use in power supply systems, they are too expensive and unsafe. They overheat too quickly, which can cause short circuits. To improve the performance, lifespan, energy density and the price-performance ratio, the scientists are focusing on discovering a combination of appropriate materials, separators, cells and aqueous electrolytes.