Technology 2 min read

Nonflammable Electrolyte Could Make Potassium Batteries Safe

Using nonflammable electrolyte, scientists were able to make Potassium-ion batteries safer and more efficient for large-scale applications.

Immersion Imagery / Shutterstock.com

Immersion Imagery / Shutterstock.com

A team of scientists from Australia has developed a nonflammable electrolyte for potassium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion technology still powers most of our devices — whether it’s electric cars or smartphones. And that’s understandable.

They are lightweight, compact, and require low maintenance. Along with a higher energy density, Li-ion batteries offer more charge cycles and a lower discharge rate than other forms of battery.

With that said, the technology also comes with some intrinsic disadvantages. These include price and environmental issues.

But the electrolyte’s flammability may be the biggest downside of using Lithium-ion technology.

You’ve probably heard incidents of exploding hoverboard batteries. There’s also the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, which involved exploding Lithium batteries.

As a result, scientists have been looking for ways to make the battery safer.

While some scientists developed an incombustible Li-ion battery, others chose to skip the element altogether. They developed a nonflammable electrolyte for high-performance potassium batteries.

The team developed an electrolyte that’s based on a flameretardant and tweaked it for use in K-ion batteries. Not only is the resulting cell nonflammable, but it’s also suitable for large-scale applications.

Here’s how the researchers created the new electrolyte.

Developing a Nonflammable Electrolyte for Potassium-ion Cells

To create the electrolyte, the researchers used triethyl phosphate as the solvent‘s primary component.

The substance, flame retardants, has been tested in lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, the concentration that’ll make the Lithium-ions stable is too high for industrial applications.

Potassium-ions, on the other hand, requires less concentration of the solvent. So, the researchers combined the triethyl phosphate solvent with a common potassium salt to produce an electrolyte that did not burn.

What’s more, the team noted a battery concentration of 0.9 to 2 moles per liter, which is suitable for large scale use.

According to Guo, the impressive performance is due to the presence of a uniform and stable solid-electrolyte interphase layer. The researchers noted that the layer, which is only present in the phosphate electrolyte, enabled the operability of the electrodes.

Guo and his team demonstrated that the phosphate-based electrolyte could help create safer potassium-ion batteries. However, the researchers point out that the method could help create other nonflammable battery systems.

Read More: Developing Lithium-Sulfur Battery With Higher Energy Storage Capacity

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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