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Researchers discovered a lithium-ion battery alternative that could 'revolutionize' EVs — and they're 50% cheaper to make

The battery is 10 years in the making.

CERENERGY batteries

Photo Credit: Maskarchitects

Experts may have hit paydirt in the search for a better battery. 

Creators of the CERENERGY solid-state technology said the units they are working on are safer, cheaper, and longer-lasting than their lithium-ion counterparts. And better yet, they won't catch fire or explode, according to their makers.

The breakthrough is the result of a joint effort between two labs — Australia-based Altech Batteries and Germany's Fraunhofer. The result could expand renewable energy storage capacity, which is important as more wind, solar, and tidal power farms go online.

Other projects, like one in California that uses old electric vehicle (EV) batteries to hold a solar charge, are already operational as sustainable energy companies work to find better ways to store intermittent, renewable power.

CERENERGY researchers have said that a better battery will improve storage efforts. The first line of a planned battery factory is forecasted to produce 10,000 modules a year. 

And the company has its eyes set on global use.

"[W]e are now entering the final phase of industrial product development for global commercialization," Fraunhofer Institute Director Alexander Michaelis said in a press release. 

The battery is 10 years in the making, using inexpensive and abundant materials — aluminum, salt, nickel, and ceramic. 

Meanwhile, costly lithium and cobalt are not part of the mix. Demand for those resources is a concern as EV demand climbs. And, as Altech notes, mining those metals from places, including the Congo, has created ethical concerns. 

The CERENERGY batteries cost 40% to 50% less to make, the researchers report

Altech has an online checklist of advantages this new battery has over traditional lithium-ion ones. Among the improvements: a lifespan of greater than 15 years, the ability to operate in extreme temperatures, and no explosions. CERENERGY has said that its product is "totally fire and explosion proof." 

It all adds up to a battery that is well-suited for mass power storage. A pilot plant in Germany is already online as the makers work to bring their brand of grid storage to more places. 

"The environmentally friendly and safe CERENERGY batteries … have the potential to revolutionize the market for stationary batteries," Altech CEO Uwe Ahrens said in the press release.

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