Scientists pave way for lithium-ion batteries capable of operating in extreme cold

HONG KONG: Researchers at Zhejiang University in China have developed a lithium battery capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius.

According to the researchers, this new type of battery could one day be used in a wide variety of electric vehicles, from cars to aircraft.

According to the South China Morning Post, this breakthrough could solve the problems associated with operating and recharging electric vehicle batteries in extreme conditions.

Lithium-ion batteries are designed to operate at comfortable ambient temperatures, ideally between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. Below this temperature, the battery's internal resistance rises, meaning it requires more energy to operate properly. This is why batteries discharge faster in cooler temperatures, especially in winter.

To achieve such a result, the scientists had to create a new electrolyte, using a kind of solvent that gave it new properties, in turn enabling the lithium-ion battery to operate at such low temperatures.

At the same time, their research also led to the discovery of a previously unknown means of transporting ions in batteries, compatible with low temperatures.

The researchers' tests showed that this electrolyte enabled the lithium-ion cells to operate at a high capacity at temperatures ranging from -60 to -80°C. They also succeeded in rapidly recharging the battery under these conditions, to 80% in just 10 minutes. In theory, this same principle, adapted to sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries, could be just as effective in operating at very low temperatures.

All that remains now is to adapt this research to the design of a conventional battery, and see if this technology can one day be brought to the commercial market.

This battery functions using haemoglobin.
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