Researchers in the Electrochemical Energy Storage (EES) Lab of IIT-Hyderabad have developed a dual carbon battery which could challenge the extant lithium-ion batteries (LIB).
It is being hailed as an innovation which does away with the need for toxic, expensive and heavy transitional metals.
The research team comprises supervisor Dr. Surendra K. Martha (associate professor in the Department of Chemistry) overseeing Shuvajit Ghosh and Udita Bhattacharjee, both doctoral students.
They received support from Naval Materials Research Laboratory (Mumbai), Naval Research Board (DRDO) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA).
What Is It?
It is a dual carbon battery which is relatively cheap and sustainable. It is a 5.0 voltage cell with energy density of 100-watt hour per kilogram (extendable upto 150 W-h/kg with additional tweaks) and nominal voltage application of 4.6 V.
The team is working on enhancing the battery’s energy density which in simple terms means the energy of a battery in proportion to its weight
It is light in weight and flexible owing to utilising carbon as electrode active material as well as current collector replacing heavy metals.
It is also on par with LIBs in terms of efficiency.
Researchers have made use of self-standing carbon fiber mats as both electrodes (cathode and anode) which contribute to a reduction in overall cost by 20-25%.
Improvement Over LIB
The cost cutting happens since the dual carbon battery uses zero-transition metal which is eco-friendly.
Presently LIBs require sourcing of cobalt, nickel, manganese from the earth (difficult to procure in India) which are not only toxic but have societal consequences as it employs child labour.
Raw material costs are unpredictable and ever fluctuating given that resources such as lithium and cobalt are not ubiquitous and its availability being subject to international geopolitics. All this affects the use of LIB packs in electric vehicles.
Uses and Benefits
The battery has potential applications in electric vehicles, medical technology and stationary grids.
By 2030 it could also be expected to fulfil requirements in electric mobility, aviation and grid energy storage.
It could be positioned as a cheaper and environmentally healthier alternative for the Indian market.
It could also help bolster India’s progress towards reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Other IIT Initiatives
In further news, IIT-H will soon host a ‘Clean-a-thon’.
Participants will have to come up with clean energy solutions to environmental concerns including water, air and noise pollution and the scourge of non-biodegradable materials such as plastic.
Winners will receive a cash prize of Rs 20,000 along with support towards implementation of their proposals. They will also receive mentorship from IIT Hyderabad-based incubator named i-TIC Foundation.