Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed low-temperature resistant water-based zinc-based battery electrolyte

Recently, Li Xianfeng and Zhang Huamin, researchers from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, led a team to make new progress in the research of low-temperature water-based zinc-based battery electrolytes, and developed a low-temperature resistant, economical, safe, and environmentally friendly water-based zinc-based battery hybrid Electrolyte. The research results were published in "Energy and Environmental Science".

Aqueous zinc-based batteries have the advantages of high safety, low cost, and high energy density, and have broad application prospects in the fields of portable electronic equipment, electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage. Because the zinc negative electrode side of the water-based zinc-based battery will produce uneven zinc deposition, resulting in the growth and shedding of zinc dendrites, thereby affecting the cycle stability of the zinc-based battery. In addition, the ion conductivity of the aqueous electrolyte drops sharply as the temperature decreases, making the battery of this system unable to operate at low temperatures, limiting its application.

The newly developed electrolyte is composed of water, ethylene glycol and zinc sulfate, and has high ionic conductivity at low temperatures. Through experiments and theoretical calculations, the researchers clarified that the unique interaction between zinc ions and glycol molecules can significantly increase the hydrogen bond interaction between glycol and water molecules, thereby effectively destroying the continuous water molecules in the electrolyte. The hydrogen bond greatly reduces the freezing point of the mixed electrolyte and realizes the rapid transmission of zinc ions at low temperatures. At the same time, zinc ion-glycol solvation can increase the reversibility of zinc deposition/dissolution and improve the deposition morphology of zinc anode.

Further research also found that the zinc-ion hybrid supercapacitors and zinc-ion batteries constructed using the mixed electrolyte both exhibit high energy density, high power density and long cycle life at -20°C. By adjusting the different proportions of the mixed electrolyte, it can withstand different degrees of low temperature and realize the use in different environments. This research work has important guiding significance for the design of electrolyte for low-temperature energy storage devices. (Reporter Liu Wansheng, correspondent Chang Nana)

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