A company from Australia called Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) has announced some interesting test results from aluminum-ion battery testing. This new type of rechargeable battery can charge ten times faster than current lithium-ion units. While charging significantly faster, the new battery type also lasts longer and doesn’t require a cooling system to operate.
The company has been testing coin cell prototypes of the aluminum-ion battery ahead of delivering them to manufacturing partners and has disclosed some performance figures. The battery offers a power density of around 7000 W/kg, which is a massive amount of power closing in on the power density provided by ultracapacitors capable of 12,000-14,000 W/kg.
The new type of battery has an energy density of 150-160 Wh/kg, which is about 60 percent of the energy per weight of the best lithium-ion batteries available today. That spec means these batteries aren’t well-suited to electric vehicles at first glance. The higher the energy density, the further an EV can drive per charge. While it may be down on energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries, it has a significant advantage.
The batteries can charge extremely fast, with GMG saying that a smartphone running an aluminum-ion battery could charge fully in one to five minutes. What that would mean if aluminum-ion batteries were used in an electric vehicle is that it would only drive about 60 percent the distance of a comparable vehicle with the lithium-ion battery, but its charge speed may be so fast less driving range wouldn’t matter.
The new battery tech is also much longer-lasting than lithium batteries in lifecycle, with the ability to undergo 2000 charge and discharge cycles with no apparent deterioration in performance. The aluminum-ion batteries are also very safe, with very low potential for catching fire, and are more recyclable than lithium batteries at the end of their life. Perhaps the key benefit is that the aluminum-ion battery doesn’t need any lithium, which could be a big deal considering most of the world’s lithium supply runs through China.
Another critical feature is since the batteries don’t overheat, they wouldn’t require cooling gear. The cooling system could be eliminated from an electric vehicle and replaced with a larger aluminum-ion battery pack to give you the same energy density as lithium-ion in the same car.