Battery technologies: lithium & beyond
Keywords:multivalent batteries, next-generation batteries, Peter Faguy
Global efforts to mitigate climate change are causing a transition from non-renewable energy resources (fossil fuels) to renewable energy resources (wind, solar, hydroelectricity, geothermal). This energy transition to sustainably meet the world’s growing needs for electricity, heating, cooling, and power for transport is widely considered to be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in this century. The transition is enabled by improvements in generation and storage technologies critical to harvesting inherently intermittent renewable energy. Moreover, growing needs for smaller, lighter, more powerful portable electronic devices and more powerful electric vehicles suitable for long-range transportation have further fostered the demand for dispatchable and efficient electrical energy storage. These have catalyzed rapid development and commercialization of high-energy and lightweight rechargeable batteries, primarily based on lithium. However, lithium-enabled rechargeable batteries are plagued with challenges such as uncontrolled surface/interface (low safety), sluggish transport & reaction kinetics (slow charging), & relatively rare abundance of the metal (high cost). Moving beyond lithium necessitates the development of safe & fast-charging rechargeable batteries based on relatively abundant metals (i.e. Na, Zn, Al, Fe, etc.).
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