Fast charging battery 'a cheap alternative to lithium-ion'

1 min read

Researchers have developed a fire-resistant battery made from aluminium and sulphur that they say can charge to full capacity in less than one minute.

The battery has been created by a team from MIT led by Professor Donald Sadoway.

Although the battery operates at the comparatively high temperature of 110°C it uses an inorganic salt that is resistant to fire, the researchers said, making it far safer than current batteries.

Modern battery technologies use lithium-ion cells which, if damaged, can catch fire in a process known as thermal runaway.

In an interview with the New Scientist, Sadoway said that “this is a totally new battery chemistry."

Made from aluminium and sulphur, its developers hope that it could one day end concerns about dwindling supplies of lithium, whose over-mining is raising concerns about long-term supply.

Aluminium and sulphur are both abundant and cheap to produce, meaning that the entire battery can be made for about a sixth of the cost of its lithium equivalent.

“The ingredients are cheap, and the thing is safe — it cannot burn,” said Sadoway. “I wanted to invent something that was better, much better, than lithium-ion batteries for small-scale stationary storage.”