A game changing design for magnesium batteries

Researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America have discovered a promising new version of high-energy magnesium batteries, with potential applications ranging from electric vehicles to battery storage for renewable energy systems.

The research paper is published in the journal, Joule.  It is the first battery to operate with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, a change the researchers said allows it to store and discharge far more energy than earlier magnesium batteries. They used a chloride-free electrolyte, another change from the traditional electrolyte used by magnesium batteries, which enabled the discovery.

The team used the chloride-free electrolyte to test organic quinone polymer cathodes with a magnesium metal anode, reporting that they delivered up to 243 watt-hours per kilogram, with power measured at up to 3.4 kilowatts per kilogram. The battery remained stable through 2,500 cycles.

“Through (the) optimal combination of organic carbonyl polymer cathodes and Mg-storage-enabling electrolytes, we are able to demonstrate high specific energy, power, and cycling stability that are rarely seen in Mg batteries,” researchers wrote.

The research team will focus on further improving the specific capacity and voltage for the batteries in order to compete against lithium batteries.