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Mar 30.17 New Magnesium Battery Shows Longer Life

The latest research in pursuit of a longer-lived, faster-charging rechargeable magnesium battery is showing the potential of an alternative to current technology, a new battery chemistry based on coupling a magnesium cathode and an iodine anode, developed by Chunsheng Wang, a Professor at the University of Maryland (U.S.) Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering. Dr. Wang and his collaborators think their new battery design, with an energy density about 10 times more than current rechargeable batteries, has a promising future, because a higher energy density translates into longer battery life, which could save battery-hungry consumers money in the long run.

That latent power capability would make magnesium batteries an ideal candidate to replace rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that make our cell phones, computers, and even electric vehicles operable. The lithium-ion type battery has many selling points, but the tradeoffs include lengthy charging times and short overall battery life. Meanwhile the development and widespread application of rechargeable magnesium batteries has been slowed due to a lack of a compatible cathode. To generate electricity a battery must have positively-charged electrodes (i.e., the anode) and negatively-charged electrodes (the cathode). Dr. Wang’s research team combined iodine with magnesium. Soluble iodine becomes a solid after discharge, unlike the solid-state reaction in lithium-ion batteries. This two-phase, liquid-solid reaction is significantly faster than a pure solid reaction,
says Dr. Wang.

"Our mission is to make rechargeable batteries that are cheaper, recharge faster and last longer than what is currently available to consumers," said ChBE Ph.D. Candidate Tao Gao. "Research of magnesium batteries has been ongoing for the last decade, and one of the biggest challenges is decreasing the recharge time to hours, rather than days," he added.
The study shows that the magnesium rechargeable battery can be charged in just five minutes. Gao and team members are currently reviewing the effects of temperature on their battery, to ensure that it can be used in all climates, under all conditions, regardless of application.

This groundbreaking research entitled, “High Power Rechargeable Magnesium/iodine Battery Chemistry,” was published in Nature Communications on January 10, 2017. For additional information, or to read the paper in its entirety, please link to http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14083

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