Lithium-ion batteries are the dominant player of electricity storage at the moment. They are being used to power a large variety of equipment, anything from portable computing devices to electric cars, from home appliances to the International Space Station.
But their status will soon face fierce competition, by fluoride-based batteries. Lithium and fluorine are an interesting pair in the periodic table: lithium has the highest tendency to lose electrons, while fluoride has the highest tendency to attract to electrons.
In a fluoride-based battery, a metal fluoride compound may have multiple fluorine ions. In comparison, lithium cobalt oxide, the compound found in a lot of lithium-ion batteries only carries one lithium ion. Therefore, at a similar weight, a fluoride battery can store more energy.
However, there was a big hurdle that stops fluorine to overtake its periodic-table rival. At room temperature, fluorides are far more difficult to dissolve in a liquid electrolyte than lithium ions.
Recently a (dream) team of researchers announced that they have found a suitable liquid electrolyte to dissolve fluoride at ambient temperature, clearing a major obstacle toward building commercial fluoride batteries.
The group, made up of scientists at Caltech, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Honda Research Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, had their eyes on a few synthetic electrolytes. Among them, a molecule called BTFE showed the most potential in both simulation and real-life testing, thanks to its positively charged regions that can hold on fluoride tightly.
Their work was published in the journal Science.
In their follow-up research, the multi-institute team will work on the materials to build durable cathode and anode for the fluoride-based batteries.
Source: Seeker via Youtube