Scientists develop the first metal-free battery cell

Inspenet, March 8, 2023

Graphenano and the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of Valencia have developed the first battery cell without current collectors or metal terminals. The system uses graphene and carbon nanomaterials, rather than copper, aluminum or steel. It represents a breakthrough in the manufacture of safer, lighter and more efficient batteries.

Both institutions indicate that: “Its application in the electric car, aviation or stationary storage sectors, among others, revolutionizes the field of battery safety and efficiency.”

The project has managed to eliminate the sheets of copper, aluminum or steel that are used in conventional batteries to evacuate electrical current. Likewise, the tabs (current terminals) of nickel or other metals, which are used to transfer energy from the inside out from the battery.

The materials have been replaced by graphene and other carbon nanomaterials, with good electrical conductivity. Thus, the weight and volume of the devices is significantly reduced; the energy density is increased between 30% and 60%; and the risk of accidents due to explosion or fire in contact with water is eliminated, something that was verified in the tests.

“We have patented a technology that solves the problem of battery safety with a disruptive approach. Our system provides such chemical stability that the battery does not burn on contact with water, even in the presence of water. That makes it possible to dispense with the heavy safety shields of current batteries.”

This technique thus makes it possible to develop safer, lighter, more powerful, compact and, ultimately, more sustainable batteries. The reduction of weight and volume allows to increase both the energy density and the volumetric density. And without the need to replace the current cell assembly machinery, facilitating its start-up without much industrial cost.

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