Low-Cost, Aqueous Batteries with a Mediator-ion Solid Electrolyte

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Arumugam Manthiram, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Xingwen Yu, Ph.D. , Texas Materials Institute
  • Martha Gross , Texas Materials Institute
  • Shaofei Wang, Ph.D. , Texas Materials Institute

Background/unmet need

The increasing environmental concerns and the inevitability of utilizing renewable energy sources require the development of advanced energy storage systems at an affordable cost with earth-abundant materials.

Among the well-developed battery systems, zinc has always been considered as one of the most practical anode materials for aqueous batteries due to its low cost, safety, reliability, and compatibility with aqueous solutions.

Invention Description

A new type of aqueous zinc-bromine (Zn-Br2) battery is demonstrated with alkali-metal-ion solid-electrolyte separators in which the alkali-metal ion serves as an ionic mediator. Separation of the Zn anode and the liquid Br2 cathode with the solid electrolyte completely circumvents the Zn-dendrite issue and the crossover of the liquid reactants. The uniqueness of this "mediator-ion" approach is that the redox reactions at the Zn anode and Br2 cathode are sustained by a shuttling of the mediator alkali-metal ion between the anolyte and catholyte through the solid electrolyte.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Enables development of low-cost, aqueous batteries with a broad range of redox couples
  • Circumvents the chemical crossover and metal-dendrite problem
  • Enables employing different liquid anolyte and catholyte in a single cell
  • Facile for optimizing the cell components, voltage, energy density, and cost

Features

  • Completely circumvents the Zn-dendrite issue and the crossover of the liquid reactants
  • The redox reactions at the Zn anode and Br2 cathode are sustained by a shuttling of the mediator alkali-metal ion between the anolyte and catholyte.

Market potential/applications

Companies engaged with electrochemical energy storage technologies

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype