New Indian technology replaces lithium in batteries with cheap iron

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras have developed a new type of battery - iron-ion. In fact, they differ from the lithium-ion ones used today only in a different anode, which is made of iron oxide instead of lithium. They do not provide any fundamental advantages over lithium batteries - apart from one, but extremely important. Lithium mining risks creating a new global man-made catastrophe, and it is necessary to find any ways to abandon this metal.

The problem is that the technology for extracting lithium by evaporating lithium brine requires up to 2000 tons of water per ton of metal. And its extraction from hard rocks is accompanied by the use of extremely toxic substances. With iron, everything is much simpler and safer, while its redox potential is even slightly higher than that of lithium, with similar ion sizes. According to the professor of physics from Madras, Ramaprabhu Sundar, we are making a huge mistake by ignoring these facts.

The built prototype of the new battery successfully withstood 150 recharge cycles, while after 50 cycles its capacity remained at a level above 54%, which is considered an indicator of battery stability. The main problem at the current stage of development is finding a suitable type of iron oxide in order to achieve the maximum number of ions associated with the cathode. The performance of the battery directly depends on this - and the search for suitable alloys continues.