New aqueous zinc-ion battery overcomes limitations of existing technology

Prof. Zhao Bangchuan and his research team at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have made a remarkable breakthrough in battery technology. They have successfully developed a high-performance aqueous zinc-ion battery that exhibits an exceptionally long cycle life, even in the presence of a weak magnetic field. The team’s findings have been published in the prestigious scientific journal, Materials Horizons.

Aqueous zinc-ion batteries have emerged as a promising and cost-effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries, offering a higher theoretical capacity while maintaining safety. However, their practical application has been hindered by limitations in cathode materials and the formation of zinc dendrites on the anode, which reduce energy density and shorten the battery’s cycle life. Consequently, it is crucial to design cathodes with enhanced energy density and to mitigate zinc dendrite growth for the development of superior aqueous zinc-ion batteries.

In their study, the researchers successfully tackled these challenges by employing a one-step hydrothermal method combined with in-situ electrochemical defect engineering to create a unique material known as VS2. This material possesses abundant defects that effectively minimize the electrostatic interaction between zinc ions (Zn) and vanadium disulfide (VS2). As a result, the Zn2+ ions can freely move along both the ab-plane and c-axis of the material in a three-dimensional manner, enabling exceptional rate capability.

Although the growth of zinc dendrites remained a concern for cycling stability, the team made a groundbreaking discovery. They found that by introducing an external magnetic field, the growth of dendrites could be effectively suppressed, leading to a substantial increase in the battery’s lifespan. Operating the high-performance Zn-VS2 battery under a weak magnetic field resulted in an ultra-long cycle life, alongside high energy density and power density.

The implications of this work for the future of energy storage technology are significant. By addressing the limitations of cathode materials and successfully controlling dendrite growth, the research team has opened up new possibilities for the advancement of battery technology. The development of aqueous zinc-ion batteries with prolonged cycle life and enhanced performance could revolutionize the field of energy storage, paving the way for more efficient and sustainable power solutions.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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