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More efficient, safer batteries made in Spain
A research team at Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have solved a major problem in the everyday use of mobile phones and electric cars: the need to boost battery life. And, in so doing, they have made batteries safer.
Their method consists in replacing today’s organic liquid electrolytes and additives with non-flammable ceramic electrodes. This reduces the risk of ageing with heat in lithium-ion batteries, that is, the batteries we use in smartphones, laptops or hybrid vehicles.
The new production method extends battery life and improves efficiency. Since the electrodes thus produced can be as thick as 450 to 1000 microns, battery storage capacity is ten times larger. And as the electrodes can be tubular or flat, they can be used in all kinds of lithium-ion batteries, incorporated to current manufacturing processes.
Calcium, the future of batteries
Spanish scientists are working on the development of alternative battery materials, away from lead, nickel or lithium. At the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), a team is developing rechargeable calcium-based batteries (today’s calcium-based batteries are not rechargeable). At UC3M, Jean-Yves Sánchez leads the team carrying out the ACABA (Advanced CAlcium BAtteries) project.
Calcium is more abundant (and, therefore, cheaper) than lithium, with almost identical applications, especially in the electric power and automotive industries.