Nowadays, car manufacturers seem to be on a race to develop the smallest and fastest-charging battery for hybrid vehicles. The most notable and recent one is a collaboration between Honda Research Institute, California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
According to them, they have developed a new alternative to the standard lithium-battery that’s currently used in electric cars: flouride-ion batteries.
Flouride-ion batteries are the potential ‘next-generation’ electrochemical storage devices that offer high energy density. More importantly, they can serve as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Yet despite their promising potential, flouride-ion has had issues with overheating batteries in the past, and require temperatures of around 300 degrees Farenheit (150 Celsius) to work effectively.
According to their abstract published at Science.com, the reason for this is that “current batteries need to operate at high temperatures that are required for the molten salt electrolytes.” Honda, CalTech, and NASA think they’ve solved this problem by making the battery’s chemistry produce power even at room temperature.
“Fluoride-ion batteries offer a promising new battery chemistry with up to ten times more energy density than currently available Lithium batteries,” said Christopher Brooks, a Honda Research Institute researcher and a co-author of the paper, in a press release.
Flouride-ion also has another advantage over lithium-ion: they can be sourced from more common materials, which can be good for the environment.
“Unlike Li-ion batteries, FIBs do not pose a safety risk due to overheating, and obtaining the source materials for FIBs creates considerably less environmental impact than the extraction process for lithium and cobalt,” Brooks shared.
So far, Honda hasn’t revealed any concrete plans on how they’ll incorporate this technology into their vehicles. Our guess here is it will take a long time before they can take this product mainstream.