However, there has been a major hurdle in the development work on the calcium battery so far: In contrast to the established lithium-ion technology or the more recent sodium or magnesium technology, no practicable electrolytes existed to date to produce rechargeable calcium batteries. "It is only a few years since experimental electrolytes and thus prototypes of the calcium battery have existed at all," explain Dr. Zhenyou Li, first author of the study, and Dr. Zhirong Zhao-Karger, project manager, both working in the POLiS (Post Lithium Storage Cluster of Excellence) excellence cluster at KIT, which is further developing the calcium battery as part of CELEST. However, these experimental materials only allow charging at temperatures above 75 degrees Celsius and are still susceptible to undesired side reactions."
The researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a class of new electrolytes based on special organic calcium salts that enable charging processes even at room temperature. Using the example of the new electrolyte calciumtetrakis[hexafluoroisopropyloxy]borate, the researchers have now been able to demonstrate that calcium batteries with high energy density, storage capacity and rapid charging capability are possible. They presented their results in the trade journal Energy & Environmental Science.
The new electrolyte class creates an important basis for transferring calcium batteries from the laboratory to the application. In electric cars, mobile electronic devices and stationary network storage devices, they could one day replace the lithium-ion battery that has dominated the market to date.
However, this will not be the case already tomorrow. "The new electrolytes are a first important step," emphasizes Fichtner. "We still have a long way to go before we have a calcium battery that is ready for the market. It is not impossible that someday the KIT team will receive the Nobel Prize for this achievement - in a few decades' time.
Original publication: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/EE/C9EE01699F#!divAbstract
KIT Energy Center: https://www.energy.kit.edu/index.php
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