For the first time a silicon-air battery runs longer than 1,000 hours

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    After oxygen, silicon is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Its reserves are practically inexhaustible and it is cheap. When researchers look at an alternative to the current lithium-ion battery, it makes sense that they turn to silicon. Silicon-air batteries are not only smaller and lighter than their lithium-ion counterparts, but also have a much higher energy density. In addition, they are insensitive to external influences and environmentally friendly. Thus far, they have however only achieved relatively short running times. Scientists at Jülich’s Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK) reckon they have finally discovered why.
    As part of the AlSiBat project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, scientists at IEK tackled the problem from another angle. Rather than questioning the suitability of the electrolyte, they suspected that the consumption of the electrolyte was the cause for the short running time. To test this theory, a pump system was developed to refill the electrolyte fluid – potassium hydroxide dissolved in water – from time to time.
    Hermann Tempel from the IEK’s Fundamental Electrochemistry department claims that the battery will continue running as long as the silicon anode remains in contact with the electrolyte. With this new design, the battery has clocked up an impressive 46 days, or 1,100 hours of running time. It only stops when the silicon anode is fully used up. The battery has to be ‘recharged’ mechanically by replacing the anode.

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