Researchers from SKOLKOVO have created the cathode for the battery based on titanium and potassium. This will allow to abandon the use of rare and expensive lithium, which, moreover, is inflammable and toxic. New batteries can be useful for industrial drives and large equipment. Work published in the journal Nature Communications.
In most modern batteries use lithium, including the family of lithium-metal-phosphate batteries. Batteries of this type have large size and weight compared to lithium polymer, used in mobile technology, but they are more stable and more reliable. The problem is that lithium is quite expensive and toxic metal, which, moreover, is not so easy to produce: its main deposits are in Australia and Chile.
Scientists from the SKOLKOVO Institute of science and technology headed by Stanislav Fedotov figured out how to abandon the use of lithium and only use the cheapest available materials. Classic battery consists of a cathode (positive electrode), anode (negative) and the electrolyte (connecting material). When charging, lithium ions flow from the cathode to the anode during the discharge — back. Researchers have proposed to use instead potassium ions and to produce cathode of KTiPO4F (fluoride potassium titanium phosphate). Titanium compounds were previously regarded as unsuitable for the cathode, as it was believed that they have low redox potential.
Fluoride is a potassium-titanium-phosphate get convenient for industrial production method: in the reactor the raw material is placed, mixed and incubated for several hours at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. Then, the resulting powder was dried and calcined in a furnace. Made from this powder electrode when used in a battery provides a voltage of 3.6 volts, which is approximately equal to the voltage of the common lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. A new source of energy can be used in the energy sector to compensate for daily fluctuations of wind and solar generators for emergency power enterprises, as well as the Segways and forklifts.
Search for cheap and reliable way of storing electricity is one of the main challenges of renewable energy, as the flows of air, water and sunlight are not amenable to human control. For a more stable flow of electricity from green power use different tricks, for example, make a windmill flying or place them unevenly.