Researchers at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) of Department of Energy (DOE) have discovered an alternative to lithium-ion batteries by making solid-state magnesium ion batteries that are both energy dense and safe.
Usually, the electrolyte used in the batteries which carry charge back and forth between the battery’s cathode and anode are in the liquid state making them potentially flammable, especially in lithium-ion batteries. Initially, the scientists were working on a liquid-state Magnesium conductor but later on, they discovered a material called magnesium scandium spinel which has magnesium mobility comparable to solid-state electrolytes for lithium batteries. They are trying to develop a solid-state conductor, which has the potential to become an electrolyte, would be far more fire-resistant.
The team also included researchers from MIT and Argonne National Laboratory who provided computational resources and key experimental confirmation of the magnesium scandium selenide spinel material.
“With the help of a concerted effort bringing together computational materials science methodologies, synthesis, and a variety of characterization techniques, we have identified a new class of solid conductors that can transport magnesium ions at unprecedented speed,” said Canepa, the lead author.
However, this battery technology is only up for demonstration currently. Several other gaps such as eliminating the electron leakage have to be filled in this research in order to present a final output.
Their findings were reported in Nature Communications in a paper titled, “High magnesium mobility in ternary spinel chalcogenides.” JCESR, a DOE Innovation Hub.