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Researchers from the Universities of Córdoba in Argentina and Xiamen in China develop a new battery made of magnesium that uses vanadium and chromium to increase its potential. It would be an alternative to lithium, given the scarcity of this material. According to reports, the first tests with the product have been satisfactory.
Lithium batteries are currently used worldwide to power electronic devices, but despite this they face challenges in terms of security, energy density and availability, since most of this material is concentrated in a few geographical points to world level, so it is essential to find alternatives.
For this reason, over the last few years, the scientific community has turned to the search for a substitute that allows offering the advantages of lithium. Magnesium turned out to be a prominent competitor, as it can offer twice the capacity for each atom that is inserted, is cheaper and has less tendency to form dendrites (deposits that affect the life of batteries and can cause problems such as shorts).
"The study is part of a first investigation in which it was possible to configure a hybrid sodium and magnesium battery", explained one of the authors of the work, Gregorio Ortiz, professor in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and member of the FQM-288 group of the UCO.
And he added: "This hybridization usually generates more problems in its applicability and has worse long-term performance."
"For this reason, later, after a chemical treatment to eliminate sodium, it was possible to develop the pure magnesium battery, in which the potential is increased, and therefore the energy density," the professor stated.
As a result of research, the new battery has reached an average potential of two volts and an energy density of 140 watts per hour. Put into practice, according to Ortiz, this would mean that "we could have achieved almost half the autonomy of a lithium battery in an electric car, but without the disadvantages of this material."
Of course, the new formula has only been tested at the laboratory level, so we would have to wait to see how it behaves on a real scale.
The study, whose first author is the researcher Saúl Rubio, has thus taken another step in the race to include alternative batteries in the market, but everything indicates that the post-lithium era will still take a few years to arrive. For this to happen, some obstacles must still be overcome, such as the search for cathodes and new electrolytes, the material that carries the ion charge between the positive and negative poles of the reservoir.
According to Ortiz, the post-lithium era will still take a few years to arrive.
Sources: diariocordoba.com ecoticias.com uco.es europapress.es