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Zhejiang University Develops Lithium Battery for Extreme Cold Environments

Published: 3.25.2024

A team of researchers at Zhejiang University in China has achieved a significant breakthrough in battery technology by developing a lithium battery capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -80°C. This innovation holds promising implications for various electric vehicles, including cars and aircraft, potentially addressing the challenges associated with operating and recharging batteries in extreme conditions.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are optimized to function within a comfortable ambient temperature range, typically between 20°C and 25°C. However, in colder temperatures, the internal resistance of these batteries increases, needing more energy for properly operate and result in faster discharge rates, particularly noticeable during winter months.

To overcome these limitations, the scientists embarked on a quest to develop a new electrolyte for the lithium-ion battery. They utilized a specialized solvent that endowed the electrolyte with unique properties, enabling the battery to operate efficiently at remarkably low temperatures. Concurrently, their research unveiled a previously undiscovered method of ion transport within batteries that remains compatible with extreme cold.

Extensive testing conducted by the researchers demonstrated that the newly developed electrolyte facilitated the lithium-ion cells to maintain high capacity even in temperatures ranging from -60°C to -80°C. Furthermore, they achieved rapid recharging of the battery under these frigid conditions, reaching 80% capacity within a mere 10 minutes. The extrapolation of this principle to sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries suggests the potential for similar effectiveness in operating at very low temperatures.

With these promising results in hand, the next step involves adapting this research to conventional battery designs and evaluating its feasibility for commercialization. While further refinement and testing are necessary, this breakthrough paves the way for enhanced performance and reliability of electric vehicles, particularly in extreme environments.

As efforts continue to translate this innovation into practical applications, the prospects for widespread adoption of electric transportation brighten, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

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