Researchers have developed a prototype lithium-ion battery that uses water as an electrolytic solution. The water replaces a flammable organic solvent.

Lithium-ion battery with water

The good news, according to the team of scientists, is that their prototype is durable, can be quickly recharged, and is free from the risk of catching fire. (Just a reminder that gasoline in ICE cars is flammable, folks.)

In the abstract published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the abstract states that the prototype achieves “higher ionic conductivity, environmental benignancy, and high safety.”

This study opens a way to develop high-energy, durable, and safe batteries on the basis of metastable and nanosized oxides with aqueous electrolyte solutions.

The bad news is that it has a slightly lower performance level and can only be used in lower-voltage conditions.

The Asahi Shimbun shares details about the aqueous battery:

[Scientists] discovered that using a molybdenum oxide for the negative electrode can achieve performance levels required for practical use. Even after the battery was recharged 2,000 times, its capacity dropped by less than 30%.

As water is broken down when high voltage is applied, the prototype battery can be used only in lower voltage conditions in comparison with batteries based on the organic solvent.

Its weight energy density – an indicator of battery performance – is about half the level of a conventional product, which means a larger body size is essential to produce a battery with the same capacity.

The team thinks that their prototype, once it’s put into production, will prove useful for solar and wind storage, and in short-range electric cars. They hope to bring the battery to market within three years.

What do you think the potential is for this Li-ion prototype? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more: StoreDot turns out ultra-fast, Tesla-like 4680 cells on a mass production line


UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.


Photo: Yokohama National University

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.

About the Author

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.