Stanford chemists develop aluminum battery that charges in 1 minute

Stanford University developed the first high-performance aluminum battery that’s fast charging, long lasting and inexpensive.


Stanford is working on a battery that is ideal for those who are always on the run and forget to charge their electronic devices.

A group of chemists at Stanford University developed an aluminum battery that could out-perform the lithium-ion cells in current smartphones. Their work was recently published in the journal Nature.

“We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames,” Hongiie Dai, chemistry professor at Standford, said in a statement. “Our battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it.”

Stanford’s battery-which looks like a piece of kitchen aluminum foil-consist of two electrodes: a negatively charged anode made of aluminum and a positively charged cathode. The composition of the battery allows it to have a quick charge. The Stanford team reported “unprecedented charging times” of down to one minute.

“This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminum-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles,” wrote the team in their Nature piece.

Previous developed aluminum batteries from other laboratories usually died after 100 charge cycles. The new aluminum battery is also more potent than a typical lithium-ion battery, which lasts about 1,000 cycles.

“Another feature of the aluminum battery is flexibility,” said Ming Gong, Stanford graduate, in a statement. “You can bend it and fold it, so it has the potential for use in flexible electronic devices. Aluminum is also a cheaper metal than lithium.”

This is not the first time that researchers attempt creating an aluminum battery. In the past researchers have failed to create a commercially viable aluminum battery because they weren’t capable of producing enough voltage.

Stanford’s battery is also week in voltage, but it provides enough to work. The aluminum battery is able to produce 2 volts across its electrodes, which is just over 50% of the voltage that lithium-ion batteries provide.

“Improving the cathode material could eventually increase the voltage and energy density,” Dai said. “Otherwise, our battery has everything else you’d dream that a battery should have: inexpensive electrodes, good safety, high-speed charging, flexibility and long cycle life.”


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