Innovation That Matters

The work has the potential to help to create flame-retardant, eco-friendly batteries | Photo source Frank Wang on Unsplash

A step closer to flame-retardant, eco-friendly batteries

Agriculture & Energy

The scientists' findings could make potassium‐ion batteries a safer, more viable alternative to lithium

Spotted: Researchers at Australia’s University of Wollongong have developed a non-flammable electrolyte, an integral battery part. Their work has the potential to help to create flame-retardant, eco-friendly batteries. 

The scientists have discovered a way to use a non-flammable material for eco-friendly batteries, such as potassium-ions. Today most energy storage depends on lithium-ions, but they are expensive and non-environmentally friendly. They are also highly combustible. 

The University of Wollongong team has created a non-flammable electrolyte, the part of a battery that conducts energy. The work has resulted in a non-flammable potassium-ion battery, which is less expensive and more eco-friendly than lithium.

The electrolyte is made with a fireproofing agent, triethyl phosphate. The material was tested in lithium-ion batteries but was unsuitable because a high concentration was needed. When used in potassium-ion batteries, however, the electrolyte allowed stable charging and discharging. 

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