Next goal for Toyota’s battery research: Fluorid-ion batteries for a range of 1.000 km

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The researchers have developed the prototype of a rechargeable battery with a solid-state electrolyte, whose anode consists of fluorine, copper and cobalt and whose cathode consists mainly of lanthanum, the the newspaper reports.

With the seven times higher energy density, the energy content of a ready-to-install vehicle battery could be significantly increased with the same installation space. However, the report does not indicate how far away prototype is from series production.

The fluoride ion batteries completely dispense with lithium. Such batteries – also known as FIBs – generate electricity by transporting fluoride ions from one electrode to another through an electrolyte that conducts fluoride ions. The advantage is that several electrons per metal atom can be transferred, which enables the high energy density.

Toyota and the scientists from Kyoto are not alone in their work on fluoride ion batteries. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology or the Helmholtz Institute in Ulm are also developing and testing such cells. However, the cells are not yet ready for series production.

One reason why FIB have not yet become established is that they require high operating temperatures. The solid electrolyte must be heated sufficiently to make it conductive. At the high temperatures, however, the electrodes then expand. The Japanese researchers want to solve precisely this problem with the alloy of cobalt, nickel and copper. Now the material combination is to be optimized so that the battery can be charged and discharged without loss of capacity.

However, it remains to be seen at what temperatures the prototype cell will be operated. Permanent heating makes the use of such batteries more complicated, and the process requires energy that cannot be used for driving. In 2018, scientists from the Honda Research Institute, together with researchers from the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had developed an FIB cell that could be operated at room temperature. The catch: the cells only survived seven cycles.

For these reasons, FIB development is probably a long-term goal. Experts do not expect such batteries to be on the market before 2030.

Related articles:

New battery chemistry has up to 10x energy density of lithium

Researchers publish roadmap for battery development

Solid-state batteries – key to greater driving range



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