Lithium ion batteries changed our world by delivering us hours of energy in a small lightweight package. But ya know what, my phone battery only lasts a day and THAT’S NOT ENOUGH! I NEED MORE!!! Luckily, scientists are already on it, and have been working for decades on a new battery design that could could last up to 8 times longer, leaving lithium in the dust. Introducing: Fluoride batteries!! Okay, before you yell at me in the comments- NO these aren’t ready yet. You’re not going to be able to watch this video and then buy a fluoride battery online. Science is slow, everything takes time, BUT this is a huge exciting breakthrough and I have the right to be excited. First, a quick vocab breakdown: Fluoride is the negative ion of the element fluorine, that’s also why compounds containing fluorine (like the sodium fluoride in toothpaste) are called fluorides.
Fluoride batteries have been of interest since the 1970s when researchers first started experimenting with the material in solid state designs. And though the tests only worked under extremely high temperatures, fluoride held their interest due to its capacity to create a battery with a high energy density- it could store more charge in the same amount of space. A typical lithium-ion battery has 3 parts. An anode and a cathode separated by an electrolyte. As the battery discharges, positive lithium ions flow from the anode, across the electrolyte, into the cathode. This leaves free electrons in the anode that create your current. When you charge your lithium battery, the reverse happens- ions in the cathode flow back into the anode.
Fluoride batteries work a little differently. Instead of relying on the transfer of positive lithium ions, fluoride batteries use negative fluoride ions to generate their current. The reason these batteries have such a high energy density comes down to the molecular structure of metal fluorides. In a metal fluoride, the ratio of fluorine atoms to metal atoms is high. For example in copper fluoride, two fluorine atoms are combined with just one copper atom. That means for every copper atom, you get two fluoride ions that can move 2 electrons. In a typical lithium battery, however, you only get 1 lithium atom for every two oxygens 1 cobalt. That means for every two oxygen atoms and 1 cobalt atom there’s only one lithium ion, that can only move 1 electron. The copper fluoride gives you more ions that can move more electrons– and does it without increasing overall mass. That means batteries of the same weight can hold more charge, aaaand last up to 8 times longer.
On top of improved energy density, replacing lithium with fluoride might also makes these batteries less likely to overheat. Some scientists also say the materials needed to make a fluoride battery could be more environmentally friendly to harvest than the lithium and cobalt we currently use. But all of these great benefits rest on us being able to get fluoride batteries to work, and until this latest breakthrough- we could only really do that with solid electrolytes that functioned upwards of 150 degrees celsius. Now though, scientists NASA, Caltech, and Honda have developed a new flouride-conducting liquid electrolyte that functions at room temperature. They paired it with a copper lanthanum trifluoride cathode and a metal anode, and created a prototype fluoride battery that discharged– and recharged(!!)- at room temperature. It’s a big deal, y’all.
Buuut now for the reason why you can’t buy them yet. This concept proved room temperature fluoride batteries are possible, but they’ll still need to be tinkered with and streamlined to get that super high energy density they promise. There are also some other complications that need to be worked out, like the fact that a complicated coating is required so the electrolyte doesn’t literally dissolve the metal electrode.
All of that aside, it is a HUGE step towards a functional, scalable fluoride battery. And while it will take time to work out the kinks, this could be the start of a whole new era for energy storage- and I for one am *HERE *FOR*IT*! While we wait for fluoride batteries, why don’t you put those lithium ones to good use by building your very own website! Domain dot com has all your website needs, including dot com and dot net domain names and intuitive website builders.These guys are awesome – they’re affordable, reliable, and have all the tools you need to build a new website. And if you want to brand yourself online, Domain dot com has over three hundred domain extensions to fit your needs, from dot pizza to dot space. The guys at Domain dot com love Elements, and to show their love they’re giving you 20% off their already affordable prices.
Use coupon code ELEMENTS at Domain dot com’s checkout for 20% off. When you think domain names, think Domain dot com. You can’t give your friends a fluoride battery, but you can give them a cool science t-shirt! Check out our new Teespring store below the description where you can find this shirt, and other awesome science themed designs. For more on batteries, check out this playlist, and don’t forget to subscribe for all the best battery news. Thanks for watching! .