A water-based lithium-ion battery has been developed for the first time for household electronics, for instance, laptops—that have reduced the risk of exploding or catching fire. According to Kang Xu, previously, anyone requiring high energy had to opt a non-aqueous lithium-ion battery, however, had to conciliate on safety. At the other end, if anyone who chooses safety could utilize an aqueous battery such as metal hydride/nickel, but had to accept lower energy. However, now, the research team has come up with a solution that can concurrently have access to high safety as well as high energy.

The study pursues a 2015 research that generated an analogous 3.0 V battery with a liquid electrolyte but was obstructed from attaining higher voltages by the purported “cathodic challenge,” wherein one battery end, composed of graphite or lithium metal, is despoiled by the aqueous electrolyte. In order to overcome this issue and make the jump from 3 to 4 V, the team developed a new gel polymer electrolyte covering that can be smeared to the lithium or graphite anode.

This hydrophobic covering drives out the molecules of water from the surrounding area of the electrode exterior and then, on charging for the initial time, disintegrates and formulates a stable interphase—a slim blend of breakdown products that parts the liquid electrolyte from the solid anode. This interphase, encouraged by a layer produced in non-aqueous batteries, shields the anode from weakening side reactions, enabling the battery to utilize useful anode substances, such as lithium metal or graphite, and achieve better cycling capability and energy density.

The inclusion of the gel coating also improves the safety benefits of the new battery in comparison to ordinary non-aqueous lithium-ion batteries and enhances the energy density in comparison to any other projected aqueous lithium-ion batteries.

All aqueous lithium-ion batteries gain from the combustibility of water-based electrolytes in preference to the extremely flammable organic solvents utilized in their non-aqueous equivalents. However, exclusive to this battery is that even if the interphase layer is spoiled, it reacts gradually with the lithiated graphite or lithium anode, averting the fire, explosion, or smoking that can otherwise arise if a spoiled battery brings the metal into contact directly with the electrolyte.

Though the energy density and power of the new battery are appropriate for commercial uses, at present, served by more dangerous non-aqueous batteries, specific enhancements will make it even more combative. Particularly, the team would like to boost the digit of full-performance cycles that can be completed by the battery and to decrease material expenditures where possible.