Transport electrification has been identified as an important strategy for the world to reduce dependence on polluting fuels and confront the climate crisis. But every new technology has its “Achilles heel” – which is indispensable in the transmission of energy, the mass production of electric batteries increases the stress on rare earth metals, and due to the short useful life, on average between 10 and 15 years, contributes to the largest generation of waste.
Recognizing these issues, electric car maker Tesla is working to develop a battery that can last more than 100 years. Company’s Advanced Battery Research Center (Advanced Tesla Battery Research)which was created in 2016, is collaborating with Dalhousie University in Canada to create a nickel nickel battery that has a much longer life than the batteries currently used on the market.
One of the pioneering researchers is Jeff Dunn, and is considered a pioneer in the field for his contribution to extending the life cycles of this technology. Thanks to the partnership, the lithium-ion batteries currently used by Tesla known as Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) have a high energy density and allow for a longer charge interval.
In the search for the battery of the future, energy density is very important. Lower density means a larger battery is needed to travel a certain distance. On the other hand, higher density batteries take up less space in the car and allow the driver to travel longer distances without recharging.
Details of the new battery were revealed in an unpublished article published in the scientific journal Journal of the Electrochemical Society. This technology is based on nickel and can last up to 100 years. Due to the high energy density, this solution reduces the number of battery cells in cars and helps solve material shortage problems.
The longevity is impressive: The battery maintains the charge density and energy equivalent to currently used lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells even after 100 years, according to the researchers. They are loaded at 25°C (something that can vary in real world settings).
In addition, the new battery will be able to provide longevity and greater autonomy with little or no cobalt (a rare metal) at all, thanks to a new electrolyte with lithium salt.
The solution will take some time to actually reach the commercial channels. Research into the secular battery is expected to extend into at least 2026, but it already points to a future for more efficient and sustainable electric vehicles.
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