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(Credit: POSTECH)

A new battery developed by a research team from POSTECH is set to revolutionize the battery industry.

Professor Soojin Park and Gyujin Song (Post-doc fellow) in the Department of Chemistry and Ph.D. candidate Sangyeop Lee of the Division of Advanced Materials Science at POSTECH together developed a stable aqueous zinc-ion battery that uses water as an electrolyte. 

This new battery uses zinc anodes and aqueous electrolytes, which are much safer than organic electrolytes.

What are organic electrolytes?

Organic electrolytes are a key component in lithium-ion batteries. They are composed of lithium salt dissolved in a liquid organic solvent such as ether or carbonate. This combination allows for a wide voltage operating range, making lithium batteries highly efficient and versatile.

The downside of organic electrolytes is that they are inherently flammable or explosive and this is why Lithium-Ion batteries can be potentially dangerous.

Aqueous electrolytes, on the other hand, are an innovative, versatile type of electrolyte based on water as a solvent. These electrolytes are composed of compounds such as acids and bases that can be dissolved in water, resulting in the formation of conducting ions.

This type of electrolyte offers a wide range of advantages compared to other types, such as being non-toxic, cost-effective, and safe to use.

These types of batteries have not been used in the past because of the inferior reversibility of the zinc anode in aqueous electrolytes, caused by zinc dendrites and surface-side reactions.

The new battery includes a polymer protective layer that suppresses dendritic growth and helps to prolong the lifespan of the zinc anode.

Schematic illustration of zinc anode during cycling(A) Bare zinc foil anode with dendritic growth that involves surface side reactions during cycling. (B) SEBS-MA coating layer induces smooth electrode surface with uniform Zn2+ ion flux and no side reactions. (Credit: POSTECH)

This new battery promises to be lightweight and high-capacity, making it ideal for a variety of applications. Moreover, the use of water as an electrolyte makes this battery safer and more environmentally friendly than traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Read More > POSTECH Pohang University of Science and Technology

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