Scientists develop low-temperature resisting aqueous zinc-based batteries

Scientists develop low-temperature resisting aqueous zinc-based batteries
Schematic illustration of the ZBBs with hybrid electrolytes at low temperatures and possible mechanism of how Zn2+-EG solvation interaction impacts the chemistry of the hybrid electrolyte. Credit: CHANG Nana

Aqueous zinc-based batteries (ZBBs) are widely used for portable and grid-scale applications due to their high safety, low cost and high energy density.

However, the inhomogeneous deposition on anode during charging and the zinc dendrite formation decrease the cycling stability of ZBBs. Moreover, the traditional aqueous electrolytes are not capable of working at due to the suddenly dropped ionic conductivities, limiting the applicable temperature range of aqueous ZBBs.

Recently a research group led by Prof. Li Xianfeng from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) developed a low-temperature resisting, cost-effective, safe and eco-friendly hybrid for aqueous ZBBs.

This work was published in Energy & Environmental Science.

The developed electrolyte, consisting of water (H2O), (EG) and zinc sulfate (ZnSO4), exhibited high zinc-ion conductivity at low temperature.

"We demonstrated the unique solvation interaction of Zn2+ with EG through experiments together with theoretical calculation," said Prof. Li.

This interaction could not only enhance the hydrogen bonding between EG and H2O, providing the hybrid electrolyte with lower freezing point, but also weaken the solvation interaction of Zn2+ with H2O, achieving highly reversible Zn/Zn2+ chemistry and uniform zinc deposition.

Both the Zn-ion hybrid supercapacitors (ZHSCs) and Zn-ion batteries (ZIBs) with the hybrid electrolytes showed high densities, high power densities and long-cycle life at -20 °C. This series of hybrid electrolytes with tunable EG-to-H2O ratios provided good balance between performance and cost, which enabled promising application in various regions.

This work offers enlightenment for designing electrolytes for low-temperature energy storage devices. It was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China and CAS Engineering Laboratory for Electrochemical Energy Storage.


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More information: Nana Chang et al, An Aqueous Hybrid Electrolyte for Low-Temperature Zinc-Based Energy Storage Devices, Energy & Environmental Science (2020). DOI: 10.1039/D0EE01538E
Journal information: Energy & Environmental Science

Citation: Scientists develop low-temperature resisting aqueous zinc-based batteries (2020, August 31) retrieved 27 October 2020 from https://techxplore.com/news/2020-08-scientists-low-temperature-resisting-aqueous-zinc-based.html
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