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New Safer Battery Design Could Double Battery Life

A recently discovered magnesium battery design could be set to replace lithium ion batteries by offering twice the storage capacity without the risk of catching fire or exploding.

Research published in Nature Communications detailed a new design for a magnesium battery cathode, which in the past has had a limited storage capacity.

“We are combining a nanostructured cathode and a new understanding of the magnesium electrolyte,” University of Houston associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and the study’s lead author Yan Yao said.

This new design delivers a storage capacity of 400 mAh/g, twice the capacity of commercial lithium ion batteries and four times the capacity of earlier magnesium batteries.

Magnesium batteries are also unaffected by a condition called ‘dendrite growths’ that can cause lithium ion batteries to catch fire or explode, and magnesium is available for lower prices than lithium.

However, the new battery is somewhat limited by its voltage. At around one volt, it is lower than the three to four volts of lithium ion batteries, but the researchers still expect the magnesium battery design will have valuable applications.

“We eventually aim to create higher-energy batteries at a lower price, especially for electric vehicles,” researcher Hyun Deog Yoo said.


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