Japanese carmaker Toyota is noted for leading the way with hybrid cars – and now it is getting very serious about electric car batteries too.
It has ramped up its efforts to find a long-term successor for lithium-ion batteries with researchers at the Toyota Research Institute of North America developing a new anode material that can be used in a magnesium-ion battery. According to their findings, published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications, it could offer a superior operating voltage and capacity than a lithium-ion battery.
To boost performance they coupled the rechargeable magnesium-ion batteries with a M06S8 cathode in a conventional battery electrolyte.
According to the publication, the introduction of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles with the use of batteries is changing the face of the automotive industry. However, they state that while batteries are cleaner than fossil fuels there are concerns over their long range performance and this has hampered electric vehicles from becoming a mainstream success.
As such, the researchers state that finding high performance battery systems that can meet the necessary energy use of automobiles is vital. They believe that battery systems, such as rechargeable magnesium, aluminium and calcium-ion batteries will garner more interest as a post lithium alternative. In particular, magnesium is an exciting prospect because it has the potential to deliver a higher volumetric energy density than lithium.
They state that as magnesium is divalent it could displace double the charge per ion: and as an element it could be much more abundant than lithium and more stable.
There is no doubt however, that magnesium-ion batteries do have their drawbacks: limitations that would need to be addressed include anode/electrolyte incompatibility. However, they could potentially offer good electrochemical performance while being both safer and cheaper than lithium-ion batteries.