• Tech Tech

Researchers develop water-based battery that has twice the energy density of lithium batteries: 'Demonstrating significant stability'

In the race to keep our planet cool, there's a bright light on the horizon.

In the race to keep our planet cool, there's a bright light on the horizon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Scientists in China have developed an innovative new water-based battery that could be a game-changer for electric vehicles and the fight against atmospheric pollution, according to Interesting Engineering.

So, what makes this breakthrough exciting? These aqueous batteries are not only much safer than traditional lithium-ion batteries — they can store almost double the energy.

Today's lithium batteries have enabled the rise of EVs, but they have some serious limitations. Their flammable organic electrolytes make them a fire risk, and their energy density puts a cap on EV driving range.

The new water-based design replaces those combustible components with a safer, more stable water-based electrolyte. The result is a battery that can pack way more energy into the same space.

Researchers have been working hard on this water battery concept for years, and their efforts are paying off. In the lab, they've already achieved an impressive energy density of 1,200 watt-hours per liter, according to findings published in the journal Nature Energy. That's on par with cutting-edge solid-state batteries and double that of top lithium-ion cells.

But the advantages don't stop there. These aqueous batteries are already "demonstrating significant stability," according to SCMP. Not only are they energy-dense and inflammable, but they're also highly durable.

In testing, the Chinese team, led by Prof. LI Xianfeng from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, got their batteries to last for 1,000 charge cycles while maintaining high performance. That kind of lifespan is crucial for powering vehicles long term.

What's really exciting is how these better batteries could benefit people and the planet. Doubling the driving range of EVs would be a huge win for consumers. Cheaper, safer, and longer-lasting batteries would speed up the transition to clean electric transport, reducing the air pollution that harms human health.

Plus, by making EVs more practical for more people, this technology could help put a major dent in the carbon dioxide pollution overheating our Earth.

There's still more work to be done, but the researchers believe their aqueous batteries could be cost-competitive with conventional lithium-ion cells once scaled up. That means these water-based wonders could power our cars and clean up our air sooner than we think. 

In the race to keep our planet cool, that's a bright light on the horizon.

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider