Newly developed Iron-ion battery could be a cheap alternative

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology has announced the development of the world's first iron-ion battery. The new battery tech promises to be a low-cost and stable alternative to existing lithium-ion battery technology. A battery is made of an anode that uses low-carbon steel rather than pure iron along with a cathode of vanadium pentoxide.

The iron-ion battery uses iron chlorate as an electrolyte. Iron-ion batteries are much cheaper compared to existing lithium-ion batteries. The iron-ion batteries are more cost-effective and better at storage and stability. They are also safer to use because iron can't produce dendrites preventing the possibility of a short circuit when the electricity is discharged.

The researchers also note that the other significant benefit of iron is favorable physical and chemical properties. The new iron-ion batteries still need testing and more optimization. The team found that right now their iron-ion battery can only recharge 150 times. The energy density of the battery is only able to reach 220 wh/kilo, which is considerably less than the 350 Wh/kilo of energy density lithium-ion battery offers.

While much more work is needed, the inability to short circuit would be enough to bring the battery to market. Lithium-ion powered devices tend to overheat and at times catch fire if punctured or damaged. Fires have happened with consumer electronics like laptops and EVs.

"The redox potential of iron ion is higher than lithium-ion, and the radius of the Fe2+ ion is nearly the same as that of the lithium-ion," the team claims. "These two favorable properties of iron have been overlooked for so many years. And that's the reason why we don't have iron ion rechargeable batteries," the team added.