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Water Batteries Make a Splash

29 February, 2024

Water Batteries Make a Splash

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In a world dominated by explosive lithium-ion batteries that give us more anxiety than a cat with a newfound love for fireworks, researchers are making a splash with a revolutionary solution – water batteries! Imagine a world where your e-scooter is powered by the essence of hydration instead of the fear-inducing potential of a battery meltdown.

Forget the fiery escapades of lithium-ion batteries; the heroes of this story are water batteries, brought to you by the geniuses at RMIT. These aqua-powered wonders are not only greener than a well-tended garden but also much safer.

Water batteries are a thing

The RMIT-led team has taken water batteries on a joy ride, prototyping them in various devices, from quaint clock companions to vintage Nokia-style mobile phones and good ol’ AA batteries. These water wonders boast an impressive 500+ charge cycles, maintaining an impressive 80% capacity after 700 cycles!

Professor Tianyi Ma, the mastermind behind this aquatic revolution, proudly introduces the “aqueous metal-ion battery.”

It’s not a special type of water; it’s the same stuff you sip on daily – with a dash of inorganic salts

According to Ma, assembling and disassembling this water battery is as easy as deciding between still or sparkling water! No hazardous chemical spills, no drama – just a pure, refreshing progress.

But the water battery isn’t just a splash in the pan; it swims circles around its competitors. With a lifespan that puts othe battery chemistries to shame, these batteries can be recycled without summoning specialized disposal facilities or requiring hazmat suits.

The advantages of water batteries

Remember those notorious fires that accompany lithium-ion batteries? Well, water batteries extinguish that concern – pun intended! According to the Australian Council of Recycling, lithium-ion batteries spark at least three fires a day in recycling streams. Water batteries pose no such risk as none of their contents is flammable.

And now, the most important aspect: water batteries are cheaper! With a simple manufacturing process and very affordable material costs, these bad boys can be produced for a mere third of the price of lithium-ion batteries. They are cheaper, safer, and definitely not a fire hazard.

The secret behind this amazing discovery? The RMIT team’s breakthrough process involves coating a zinc anode with a nano-material composed of bismuth metal, allowing it to oxidize and form a rust-like protective layer. Dendrites, those pesky spurs that mess with a battery’s life, are kept at bay. It’s the ultimate level of stability and performance compared to any other battery.

What water batteries mean for the average consumer

In the grand arena of battery technology, Dr. Timothy Khoo, from Deakin University’s Battery Research and Innovation Hub, gives a nod of approval. He calls it a “novel and quite unique” approach, describing it as if they’ve ‘grown it.’ It’s like witnessing a battery evolution – from chaotic sparks to a serene, rust-protected existence.

Envision a future where water batteries gracefully replace lead-acid batteries in household appliances or power up rooftop solar storage. The water battery wave is here to sweep away the competition, extinguish fears, and charge up our gadgets. Who knew saving the planet could be this… refreshing?