Lithium-ion alternatives

The world has been taken over by lithium-ion batteries. Here are our top lithium-ion alternative , but keep in mind that any one of these technologies, in combination or development, could eventually win the race to replace lithium-ion.

Tesla has placed a large investment in them and established a Gigafactory to produce Tesla car batteries, as well as Powerwall and Power-packs for households and businesses. Many other companies are developing their lithium-ion battery supply networks. 

We’re on the verge of seeing one of the several lithium-ion alternatives take control. Lithium-ion batteries may become obsolete, relegated to the dustbin of history alongside the floppy disc.

So, who are the most likely competitors for the title of future power source?

List of top lithium-ion alternative:

  • Solid-State Batteries

Solid-state drives (SSDs) have pushed data storage to new heights in computers, and the same technology could propel battery development forward. Solid-state batteries may theoretically give the same kind of improvement over lithium-ion batteries as thin-film batteries.

Solid-state batteries will not only be more efficient and compact, but they will also be considerably safer. The possibility of fire is nearly eliminated, and recent Tesla collisions have demonstrated how beneficial this can be. The battery may theoretically last a lifetime, and its efficiency will be unaffected by the weather.

The study conducted by MIT and Samsung could lead to the elimination of thin-film batteries in favor of solid-state batteries. However, it will be years before it becomes commercially feasible.

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Toyota is still working on hydrogen fuel cell automobiles, and it isn’t the only one trying to solve the problem. Why? When it comes to creating it and recycling it at the end of the car’s life, burning hydrogen just creates water as a waste, it’s extremely efficient, and it’s considerably cleaner than lithium.

However, there is one major stumbling barrier.

We can’t make enough hydrogen right now without resorting to fossil fuels, which kind of defeats the purpose. Researchers all around the world are experimenting with genetically engineered algae and other technologies to convert water to hydrogen, but the cost of producing hydrogen is now prohibitive.

However, if the hydrogen conundrum can be solved, it might soon overtake lithium-ion batteries in popularity.

  • Lithium-Sulfur

This isn’t a far-fetched vision of the future; lithium-sulfur batteries are on the way, and they might be available in a matter of years. That is unless better technology is developed before.

Sony is developing this technology, claiming that the new lithium-sulfur batteries will have a 40% higher energy density and cheaper production costs than lithium-ion batteries already on the market.

There are problems, as the electrodes degrade too quickly for commercial use at the moment, but several institutes are working on a solution. Lithium-sulfur batteries may be a stepping stone rather than a radical replacement for lithium-ion batteries, but they are on the way and will be a considerable improvement.

  • Graphene Supercapacitors

If we can eventually understand nanotechnology and build a stable and useable version of graphene, batteries may become obsolete almost overnight. Of course, this may mean better batteries as well, but graphene supercapacitors appear to be a superior option.

Supercapacitors are substantially more efficient at charging and discharging than batteries. So, although having less energy per unit of volume, they are far more capable of supplying power and recharging. If we can make them out of graphene, we’ll be able to reclaim the energy density through weight savings and better packaging.

Graphene holds the key to humanity’s huge quantum leaps forward. It will revolutionize material science, wearable technology, and much more once we can commercialize it. We’ve been attempting to solve the graphene puzzle for over a decade, but some of the world’s best brains have so far failed. We know they’ll get there, but we don’t know when commercially usable graphene sheets will be available.

  • Redox Flow Batteries

According to the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, this battery is the future, and it’s difficult to dismiss the possibilities of this innovative dual-liquid battery. However, this is an arms race, and anything may happen.

Researchers have created prototype batteries with 70% greater energy density than a lithium-ion battery of identical proportions by adding hydrochloric and sulfuric acid to the mix.

They’re geared firmly at the Power-pack industry, and they’re capable of storing energy generated by wind and solar farms. Renewable energy sources should be able to provide rural populations with steady power and replace electrical substations if they can give up to four times the lifespan and significantly more storage.

They could potentially extend the range of a car to 1,000 miles on a single charge and make it faster, but we’re already approaching the limits of real-world performance. Redox flow batteries, on the other hand, could allow electric automobiles of the future to lose weight while maintaining similar levels of performance and a considerably longer range.

They’re not going to show up anytime soon, but they’re coming.

  • Aluminum-Graphite Batteries

Stanford University researchers have developed an aluminum battery that could significantly reduce charging times. A smartphone may be fully charged in 60 seconds, while an automobile could be fully charged in minutes.

Right now, 1.5 volts is insufficient for a car, a decent phone, or almost anything else, but experts are working on it. It’s safe, lightweight, and has the potential for improved energy density thanks to an aluminum negatively charged cathode and a graphite anode.

A perfect, commercially feasible aluminum-graphite battery is still a long way off. However, it’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

  • Bioelectrochemical Batteries

Anaerobic bacteria metabolize acetate using a reduction/oxidation technique that releases electrons in this technology. This one is still in its early stages, with researchers in the Netherlands has only completed 15 recharging cycles with a prototype. Because that isn’t even close to enough, bioelectrochemical batteries will be out of the question for the time being.

The bioelectrochemical battery, if it comes to fruition, will be a perfect bedfellow for solar panels, as the researchers are adjusting the battery to store energy for 16 hours before releasing it over the next eight.

Although the bacteria could grow and the battery could last indefinitely, there are several obstacles to overcome before this lithium-ion alternative becomes a commercial reality.

  • Thin-Film Batteries

This isn’t so much a complete replacement as it is a transition to the next generation of lithium-ion, lithium-sulfur, or whatever technology we have at the moment. It’s as simple as shrinking them and applying a layer of metal oxide, as the name implies.

Solid electrolytes can serve as an electrolyte, binder, and separator, obviating the need for additional components. An entire battery cell might be millimeters thick if the basic components are compacted to be nanometers or micrometers thick.

This implies we can pack a lot more density into each power pack, and carbon nanotubes could make the battery even more efficient.

As a result, batteries with similar ranges may shrink in size or, more commonly, their range expands considerably.

Commercial viability is the only stumbling block. Pulsed laser deposition, magnetron sputtering, chemical vapor deposition, and sol-gel processing are some of the current production processes. They’re all pricey, but a simple advancement in 3D printing might usher thin-film batteries into the mainstream and perhaps increase battery density by an order of magnitude overnight.

The actual issue is that once that technology is understood, solid-state batteries will be within reach, while thin-film batteries may never see the light of day.

That is all there is to it. These are all promising prospective replacements for our current lithium-ion batteries, which are trailing behind other technologies. Which of these lithium-ion alternative do you think has the best chance of succeeding?

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