Skoltech takes out a patent on a new battery cell assembly method

Scientists from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST) have been granted a patent for a method of producing a cathode, nonaqueous electrolyte and an anode, each having unique characteristics, and assembling them into a potassium-ion battery cell using synthesis and assembly methods developed at Skoltech.

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Lithium-ion batteries that have replaced their lead-acid and nickel-metal-hydride predecessors are becoming an increasingly popular solution for storing large amounts of energy. However, an unaffordable component price of lithium-ion batteries with capacities above 15,000 mAh, and especially their expensive cathode, scare off potential consumers and prompt researchers to look for cheaper cathodes and other components among other alkali metals. This led to the emergence of potassium-ion batteries that are at least twice as cost-efficient (per 1 kWh of stored energy) although slightly inferior to lithium-ion batteries in energy density and, therefore, have a scope of application limited to bulky equipment, stationary battery systems, such as UPS, and solar panel and wind farm batteries.

Skoltech’s pioneering invention paves the way for commercialization of potassium-ion cells. “A cathode material based on cyano complexes of transition metals boasts a record high energy density of 450 kWh/g, placing it among other record setters, such as potassium, lithium- and sodium-ion systems. Our new anode material displays equally impressive energy characteristics, which, together with unique electrolyte composition, opens up broad prospects for mass production and use of the battery,” says Skoltech PhD student Polina Morozova, one of the project developers.

The new cell can be used by the K-plus startup established by Skoltech PhD students in 2020 and focusing on the development of the potassium-ion battery. K-plus is a Skolkovo resident and winner of a FASIE grant.

The project was performed within the Skoltech Translational Research and Innovation Program (STRIP).

 

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