Tech & Science: Could Iron Replace Lithium in Batteries? - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Tech & ScienceCould Iron Replace Lithium in Batteries?

14:15  15 august  2019
14:15  15 august  2019 Source:   popularmechanics.com

Lithium mining for "green" electric cars is leaving a stain on the planet

Lithium mining for In 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made a prediction that had the potential to disrupt the auto industry: by 2030, there would be nearly 125 million electric vehicles owned by people around the world, they said. That was a significant increase compared to the 3.1 million electric vehicles globally owned in 2017. “The uptake of electric vehicles is still largely driven by the policy environment,” the IEA said in the report. “The 10..

“The major limitations of lithium -ion batteries are the unavailability of lithium in conjunction with the safety issues," said M.V. Sangaranarayanan One challenge could be cathodes, or the way currents move out of a battery . While cathodes can be replaced in some batteries , that's not the case in iron .

The lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4 battery ) or LFP battery ( lithium ferrophosphate), is a type of rechargeable battery , specifically a lithium -ion battery

Could Iron Replace Lithium in Batteries? © Yevgeny Yepanchintsev

Transitioning to renewable energy across society will require many changes, including more batteries. Energy storage is crucial for making sure that inconsistent renewable sources, like wind or solar, can stay humming even when the weather isn't going their way. But batteries have their own problem in the form of the commonly used lithium. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have come up with what could be a possible replacement: a rechargeable iron ion battery that uses mild steel as the anode.

“The major limitations of lithium-ion batteries are the unavailability of lithium in conjunction with the safety issues," said M.V. Sangaranarayanan, a chemistry professor at IIT Madras, in a recent talk. "It is hence imperative to look for new and abundantly available electrode materials in order to make the energy storage devices commercially viable, devoid of safety limitations."

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Lithium batteries are primary batteries that have metallic lithium as an anode. These types of batteries are also referred to as lithium -metal batteries .

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Lithium, in many ways, is the dirty secret of many environmental efforts. Analysts have called electric car company's demand for lithium "increasingly ravenous," and the mineral is used in everything from smartphones to glass ceramics to airbag ignitions.

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But while lithium mining is relatively cheap, it comes with huge downsides. When brine mining, miners need to let the water surrounding lithium evaporate in order to reach it, which means using 500,000 gallons of water per tonne of lithium. And when digging the mineral out of rock, it requires toxic chemicals, which can lead to disastrous results.

So the need for an alternative is a pressing one, and iron could be a strong option.

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Lithium -ion batteries are commonly used in electronics like laptops, smartphones and hybrid and electric vehicles because they are rechargeable. However, the lithium in these batteries is often expensive and can be scarce in some parts of the world. Lithium extraction also used a substantial

“Iron has favorable physico-chemical properties like lithium,” Ramaprabhu Sundara, an IIT Madras physics professor, told The Hindu. "The redox potential of iron ion is higher than lithium ion and the radius of the Fe2+ ion is nearly the same as that of the lithium ion."

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Could Iron Replace Lithium in Batteries?

Redox refers to "reduction potential," or the tendency for a chemical substance to lose or gain electrons and have their effectiveness lowered.

"These two favorable properties of iron have been overlooked for so many years. And that’s the reason why we don’t have iron ion rechargeable batteries,” Ramaprabhu says.

The team's iron battery successfully withstood 150 cycles of charging and discharging under controlled conditions. And after 50 cycles, it still had 54 percent capacity retention, which is a sign of stability.

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In lithium ion batteries , cobalt is essential to the battery , but mining them exposes the miners to uranium and arsenic, both of which are extremely harmful to the body. Uranium can damage the kidneys, arsenic can cause cancer. One battery technology that I believe could replace lithium ion

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“Iron is more stable during the charging process and therefore prevents short-circuiting of the batteries," study coauthor Sai Smruti Samantaray, a Ph.D. student at IIT Madras, told The Hindu. "Thus, when compared with the popular lithium metal-based batteries, we are able to cut down the cost and make it safer to handle."

The next step for the team is to increase the iron battery's performance. One challenge could be cathodes, or the way currents move out of a battery. While cathodes can be replaced in some batteries, that's not the case in iron.

“We are trying out different metal oxides to increase the amount of iron ions that can bind to the cathode," said Ajay Piriya,a Ph.D. student at IIT Madras and the first author of the paper showing the team's findings. "When more iron ions bind to the cathode, more energy can be stored in the battery, leading to improved performance."

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The Swedish 'Queen of Batteries ' explains why a little-known material could replace lithium for good. Under her lead, Cadenza's five-year long development stint has culminated in partnerships with many international heavyweights - and a major bet on the next wave in battery technology.

“ Lithium -sulfur batteries could become an excellent alternative to replace the currently used lithium -ion batteries due to their higher energy density “Because lithium -ion batteries use heavy transition metal components to operate, their energy density is low, and so is not optimized for bigger

Could Iron Replace Lithium in Batteries?

There's a global hunt for the next lithium battery. Even the creator of the original lithium battery, 97-year old John Goodenough, has developed an improvement.

Source: The Hindu

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Scientist, 97, becomes oldest ever winner of Nobel Prize .
Three scientists have taken home the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, including the oldest ever winner. The trio, John B Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, share the nine million krona prize (£740,099). © Imagebridge The trio helped to refine and develop lithium-ion batteries Mr Goodenough is the oldest ever winner of a Nobel prize at the age of 97.The three worked together on developing and refining rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, making the age of global information technology, mobile and fossil-fuel free revolutions possible.

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