Research into rechargeable aluminum-ion-based batteries to match their performance with that of the currently available lithium-ion ones focus on enhancing rate capability, cycle life, and retention capability. A recent work by a team of scientists at the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering of Zhejiang University have developed aluminum-graphene battery (Al-GB) with record rate capability, wide operational temperature range, and significantly long cycle life. Using targeted trihigh tricontinuous (3H3C) design advancement, the scientists developed graphene film (GF-HC) cathode with amazing electrochemical performance. Of note, the design enhancement leads to battery cathodes with unprecedented specific capacity of 120 mAh g−1 at the current density of 400 A g−1. This leads to ultra-fast charging in a record time of 1.1 s and a remarkable 91.7% retention after completing 250,000 cycles.
The researchers proposed that the new Al-GB battery can work under a substantially wide range of temperature—from −40 to 120°C—and proves promising to be used in wearable devices suitable for climates.
The details of the work is published in a paper published in December 15, 2017 issue of open-access journal Science Advances.
Highly Aligned Graphene Sheet Structures for GF-HC Film Lends Amazing Electrical Conductivity
The GF-HC film used in Al-GB battery is fabricated by assembling graphene oxide (GO) liquid crystal by properly aligning graphene sheet structure to form reduced GO films. The film demonstrated promisingly high electrical conductivity and amazing mechanical properties. High temperature annealing process was used for achieving the desired graphene structure.
However, the commercialization of this ultrafast aluminum-graphene batteries hinges on several factors, the cost of the electrolyte used being one. In addition, making the energy and power density comparable to that of commercialized Li-ion batteries remains a far-fetched dream for engineers. In future, innovations in low-cost electrolyte will make the use of Al-GM battery promising for a variety of high-power density energy storage systems powered by capacitors. Furthermore, the findings may prove useful to engineers use 3H3C approach for electrode materials, paving way for numerous practical electric power applications.