Any alternatives to Lithium ion Batteries?
Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular battery storage option today, controlling more than 90% of the global grid battery storage market. Lithium-ion batteries are majorly used for improvements in EVs and for renewable energy storage installations. However, the lithium-ion supply chain is becoming constrained due to limited raw materials and government legislation that accelerates the transition to EVs and renewables. New battery technologies are sorely needed to address this shortage. Also, Lithium ion batteries have safety risks that make it a poor fit for the market that seeks to place massive battery packs in people’s homes and businesses, which adds on to the need of finding an alternative to Lithium ion batteries.
FLEELY OBSERVES FOLLOWING AVAILABLE OPTIONS
- Zinc-ion Batteries.
- Aluminium- ion Batteries
- Lithium Sulphur Batteries
- Metal-air Batteries
Many companies have tried to build new energy storage batteries over the past decades. None have really succeeded. Even for technologies that made it out of the lab, the rapidly decreasing manufacturing costs for lithium-ion eroded their competitive position before they could scale up.It has become increasingly clear that any alternative to lithium-ion batteries needs to adopt standard manufacturing processes to allow for a rapid and low-cost scale-up. So far, the zinc-ion battery is the only non-lithium technology that can adopt lithium-ion’s manufacturing process to make an attractive solution for renewable energy storage, particularly for its compatibility along with other advantages.
One of the major key features of lithium-ion batteries is their ability to store a large amount of energy in a small amount of material. This means that lithium-ion electrodes can be built with relatively thin coatings of active material (that is, the materials at each electrode that react), with total electrode thickness of less than 0.1 millimeters. This is in contrast to lead-acid batteries, whose electrodes are multiple millimeters thick. The use of thin coatings allows for higher energy efficiency and better performance in high-power applications.
There are two requirements to be met for the working of the Lithium ion batteries both of which are met by the zinc ion batteries, thus making it a potential fit as an alternative to Lithium ion batteries.
Competitive advantages of Zinc-ion Batteries:-
- Zinc ion batteries are similar in functioning to the lithium ion batteries. Unlike the lithium ion batteries where the non active material constitutes 1/3rd of the cost of the battery as the material that suits the working requirements is rarely available . The active material in zinc ion batteries is very dense allowing sufficiently high energy to be stored even in the electrodes making the zinc ion batteries ultimately cheaper.
- Zinc ion batteries can improve on the manufacturing processes. Lithium’s violent reactivity with water requires many of its production steps to be taken under controlled atmosphere that makes the process more costly and more complicated. Whereas the water based battery, zinc ion does not have this constraint.
- Zinc ion batteries do not require cycling at the end of their life. This means they can more quickly move from the manufacturing line to the customers. This means that the zinc ion batteries can be rapidly and inexpensively scaled up.
- Zinc-ions intrinsic safety, due to its use of water as the electrolyte, means it will be able to gain traction in markets where lithium-ion adoption has been limited due to safety concerns.
- As zinc-ion production ramps up and takes advantage of economies of scale, zinc-ion batteries will become a lower-cost alternative to lithium-ion. Paired with their long service life, this will allow zinc-ion batteries to offer a far lower cost of storage than can be achieved with lithium-ion today.
As progress continues to be made, it is important that investment in new resources and innovation continues to enhance the success of the industry. As the energy storage sector continues to expand on innovative solutions, zinc-ion batteries provide an alternate solution that will greatly challenge lithium-ion as the leader in the category.
OTHER ALTERNATIVES :
Besides this, there are sophisticated battery technologies currently in development, most of which are yet to mature and realise the benefits of heavy investment and economies of scale.
- Aluminium-Ion. Aluminium-Ion and Lithium-Ion batteries are very similar, except the former have an aluminium anode. They promise increased safety and faster charging time at lower cost than Lithium-Ion batteries, but there are still issues with cyclability and life span. Stanford University is a leading developer.
- Lithium-Sulfur. Lithium-Sulfur batteries have a lithium anode and a sulfur-carbon cathode. They promise higher energy density at lower cost than Lithium-Ion batteries, but there are still issues with safety and life span. Oxis Energy is a leading developer.
- Metal-Air. Metal-air batteries have a pure-metal anode and an ambient air cathode. This reduces the battery weight significantly. A variety of metals can be used which promises large cost reductions in raw materials. There are issues withcyclability and lifetime. MIT is a leading developer.