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Despite facing issues relating to safety, cost and environmental concern, Li-ion batteries continue to be the most popular type for portable and stationary applications. In addition, they also suffer from other challenges including: (a) low energy density; (b) safety and toxicity issues associated with the electrolyte; (c) high cost of the electrolyte and electrode materials; (d) difficulty associated with fast-charging; and (f) limited life-time / cyclability. For larger- scale applications, especially stationary grid electricity storage, aqueous rechargeable batteries are becoming more common due to their low-cost and safe, water-based electrolytes. However, aqueous electrolytes have a narrow electrochemical window that limits the stability and energy density of conventional aqueous rechargeable batteries.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed a novel “oversaturated gel” electrolyte using cost-effective inorganic salts. This new, novel electrolyte enhances the cyclic stability, increases the energy density and lowers the cost of aqueous rechargeable batteries.