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  April 18th, 2023 | Written by

LSU Mechanical Engineering Professor Designs Non-Metal Battery To Replace Lithium Battery

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As the demand for electric vehicles, cell phones, and computers continues to grow, so does the demand for lithium used in lithium-ion batteries. While this soft, alkali metal known as “white gold” is abundant in certain countries, the mining process and safety issues are of concern to researchers. One such researcher is LSU Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Ying Wang, who is using a Board of Regents grant to design a non-metal rechargeable battery that could one day replace lithium batteries on Earth and in space.

Wang and her group of LSU ME students have been working on a non-metal battery with a water-based electrolyte that is safer than an electrolyte in a lithium battery, which uses flammable and toxic organic solvents.

Wang has spoken with NASA personnel about the battery and its potential use in space.

Wang’s ammonium-ion battery has an aqueous electrolyte containing high-concentration salts that result in a significantly depressed freezing point for operation at sub-zero temperatures in space systems. The anti-freezing electrolyte can be simply prepared by dissolving ammonium salt in water. The salt concentration will be varied and optimized to achieve the lowest freezing point, maximized ionic conductivity, and electrochemical performance of the battery. The battery will be tested under extreme conditions as is required by NASA.