By Piero Facchin

The field of batteries and all related technology is booming at the moment and new developments are coming out almost every week. Now a new breakthrough from Vienna University of Technology—regenerative oxygen-ion batteries—could transform the world of energy storage, with the potential to replace lithium-ion batteries in many key applications.

Lithium-ion batteries are among the most commonly used energy storage devices on the planet. However, these batteries have a number of problems, including frequent overheating that sometimes leads to fires and they tend to lose efficiency as they age.

According to a press release from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), oxygen-ion batteries do not have the same aging problem as lithium batteries, which means they can maintain their efficiency for an incredibly long period of time.

They can also be made from non-combustible materials and do not require the same rare earth elements as lithium batteries. This means they won’t have the same huge environmental footprint and won’t spontaneously explode if mishandled.

Oxygen-ion batteries last longer and can be manufactured from ceramic materials that won’t ignite. “We have had a lot of experience with ceramic materials that can be used for fuel cells for a while now,” said Alexander Schmid of the Institute for Chemical Technologies at TU Wien. “This gave us the idea to investigate whether such materials could also be suitable for making a battery.”

These batteries are perfect for storing clean energy.

“If you need a large energy storage unit to temporarily store solar or wind energy, for example, the oxygen-ion battery could be a great solution,” Schmid said. “If you build an entire facility full of energy storage modules, the lower energy density and higher operating temperature don’t play a decisive role.”

This will possibly be an opportunity to rethink energy storage to power electric vehicles from our homes.

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