(Note: This is not yet a technology offered to the industry.)
Lithium-ion batteries of various chemistries rule the market today, but since Lithium (and the Cobalt that is also needed) is scarce and costly, scientists have been researching with other metals. Some advancement has been achieved in Sodium ion batteries by the Central Electro-chemical Research Institute, Karakudi.
IIT-Madras may have achieved a big breakthrough here. Scientists led by Prof Ramaprabhu have developed an Iron ion battery which “can potentially compete with the lead-acid batteries due to its energy density, provided the stability and reversability aspects are worked out”, according to Dr Tata Narasinga Rao, Scientist at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials, Hyderabad.
IITM scientists have used mild steel (composed of 99.3% of Iron, 0.15% of carbon and 0.52% of manganese), instead of pure iron. The scientists say that the carbon in the steel allowed easy removal of electrons required for better flow of electrons. Hence, they preferred steel over pure iron for making a battery. For the cathode, they used vanadium pentoxide, which allows easy movement of iron ions due to large gap between its layers. The scientists have used iron perchlorate hydrate dissolved in non-inflammable ether as the electrolyte.
Scientists next tested various attributes of this rechargeable battery such as energy storage, percentage of energy loss at various cycles and so on. They found that iron ion batteries have a specific capacity of 207 milliampere hour per gram at a current density of 30 milliampere per gram. The rechargeable batteries lose some energy efficiency after each cycle of chargingrecharging, for this newly constructed iron battery this loss was found to be 54.5% after 50 cycles and 47% after 80 cycles.
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