In a new development, a team of researchers at Stanford University have devised rechargeable batteries that can store six times more than currently commercially available batteries.
The findings published in the journal Nature could accentuate the use of rechargeable batteries. Additionally, the new rechargeable batteries to put experts in the field one step closer to achieve two top stated goals for battery improvement: Create high-performance rechargeable battery that could enable charging of cellphones only once weekly and elevate distance of electric vehicles to travel distance of a six times more than currently possible.
Termed alkali metal-chlorine batteries, the new rechargeable batteries depend on back-and-forth chemical conversion of lithium chloride or sodium chloride to chlorine.
At the time of displacement of electrons from one side of the rechargeable battery to other, recharging reverts chemistry to its original state waiting to be used next. Non-rechargeable batteries are deprived of this. Once non-rechargeable batteries drain, their functioning is lost.
To explain in layman term, a rechargeable battery is somewhat like a rocking chair. It goes forward then rocks back when it receives energy.
In fact, the reason behind high-performance rechargeable battery not created so far is that chlorine is too reactive. Therefore, it is challenging to go back to a chloride with high efficiency. Meanwhile, for some battery types for which certain degree of recharge ability was attained battery performance was poor.
Interestingly, the researchers did not aim to create rechargeable lithium-chlorine and sodium-chlorine battery at all, and only improve the existing battery technologies using thionyl chloride. Thionyl chloride is a key ingredient of lithium-thionyl chloride batteries, which are popular single-use batteries invented in 1970s.