Researchers From Tokyo University Of Science Have Conducted Experiments On Aqueous Potassium-Ion Batteries To Gain Insights Into Solid-Electrolyte Interphases (SEI).
Compared to the well-known lithium-ion battery, potassium-ion batteries are produced of plentiful resources and are significantly safer.
In high-voltage aqueous batteries, however, inhibiting hydrogen development at the negative electrode for stabilization is a significant difficulty.
Although SEI helps stabilize the electrodes in lithium batteries by forming between these electrodes and the electrolyte solution, potassium-ion batteries have received little attention.
The study, which tries to fill this information vacuum, was published in the international edition of Angewandte Chemie.
A possible replacement for lithium-ion batteries is the use of potassium-ion batteries.
Over the past 20 years, lithium-ion batteries have skyrocketed in popularity as the preferred power source for a wide range of electronic products and automobiles.
However, there are a number of issues with these batteries related to environmental issues and the scarcity of lithium.
Scientists throughout the world are searching for alternate battery technologies, such as potassium-ion batteries, in response to these limitations.
These prospective alternatives offer various benefits and can employ a water-in-salt electrolyte (WISE), which makes them more stable thermally and chemically.
Overcoming Hydrogen Evolution Problems
Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) and operando electrochemical mass spectrometry (OEMS) were the two cutting-edge analytical methods used by the researchers.
They watched in real-time how potassium-ion batteries with negative electrodes made of 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic diimide formed and responded to SEI.
By using these techniques, it was discovered that SEI creates a passivating layer in WISE, which is evident in lithium batteries with slow apparent electron transfer rates and aids in preventing hydrogen development.
This can guarantee consistent performance and longer battery life for potassium-ion batteries. At higher working voltages, the researchers found that the SEI layer’s coverage was insufficient, which resulted in hydrogen evolution.
Overall, the findings highlight the need to investigate options to improve SEI formation in next aqueous batteries.
Professor Shinichi Komaba, who conducted the study, said that while the findings “reveal interesting details on the properties and stability of SEI found in one specific WISE, we should also focus on reinforcing the SEI network to achieve improved battery functionality.”
This work also emphasizes the value of SECM and OEMS in acquiring a thorough knowledge of the interactions between electrodes and electrolytes in next-generation batteries.
According to Professor Komaba, “These techniques provide a powerful means for tracking the development, coverage, ion transfer, and stability of SEI and can easily be adapted for various electrolytes and electrodes.”
Future Applications Of The Study
Future sustainable civilizations will depend on progress in aqueous battery technology, particularly in the development of potassium-ion batteries.
They might take the role of the pricey and dangerous lithium batteries that are already employed in maritime applications, smart grids, renewable energy systems, and electric automobiles.
Aqueous batteries will support the shift to carbon-neutral energy generation by lowering the barrier to entry for energy storage, paving the path for a cleaner future.