August 20, 2010 02:50 by Susan
A low cost and safe alternative has been discovered by scientists by adding water to lithium ion batteries. Aqueous lithium ion batteries are inexpensive to manufacture and less dangerous when compared to standard lithium ion batteries. By eliminating oxygen in the lithium-sulfate and water electrolyte solution, the batteries’ capacity has increased, but for small capacities.
The aqueous lithium ion battery can only retain 50% of its charge after 100 charge / discharge cycles, which isn’t acceptable with laptops, digital cameras and other electronic devices. By leaving the pH alone, removing as much oxygen as possible from the battery, and using carbon coated electrodes the batteries’ capacity retention increased to 90% after over 1000 cycles. The only problem is the aqueous lithium ion battery provided power that lasted 10 minutes, whereas the same type of lithium ion battery lasted 8 hours.
The Aqueous lithium ion battery may not be the right solution for laptops, but might come in handy for devices with short term use, utilizing solar panels and other forms of recharging.
Safer lithium ion batteries: add water, lose the oxygen.