Honda, Caltech, NASA’s JPL looking to trade lithium batteries for fluoride

One of the main reasons for battery electric and hybrid cars is that the chemicals, heavy metals, and manufacturing processes that make up their lithium-ion batteries are not much better ecologically than the pollution footprint of their hydrocarbon-fueled interior combustion brothers. To change this, Honda is working with researchers from the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop a new battery chemistry that uses fluoride instead of lithium.

The team wrote an article on the subject that is now published online in Science magazine.

“Fluoride-ion batteries offer a promising new battery chemistry with up to ten times higher energy density than currently available lithium batteries,” said Dr. Christopher Brooks, chief scientist at the Honda Research Institute and co-author of the paper. “Unlike Li-ion batteries, FIBs do not pose a safety hazard due to overheating, and sourcing the raw materials for FIBs results in a significantly lower environmental impact than the extraction process for lithium and cobalt.”

Fluoride-ion batteries can offer longer range and shorter charging times.

Lithium-ion and metal hydride batteries are limited by the properties of their electrodes. According to the study, fluorine could offer up to ten times higher energy densities. Currently, fluoride batteries must operate at temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius, but the team has found a way to create an electrochemical fluoride ion cell that can operate at room temperature. They did this to create a stable, liquid fluoride electrolyte with a wide operating voltage.

“Scientists developed the electrolyte using dry tetraalkylammonium fluoride salts dissolved in an organic, fluorinated ether solvent. In combination with a composite cathode with a core-shell nanostructure made of copper, lanthanum and fluorine, the researchers demonstrated a reversible electrochemical cycle at room temperature. “

See? Easy. Better chemicals are cleaner, longer-lasting batteries.

Honda says these batteries could power electric vehicles as well as other power-hungry products in the future.

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