Will the World’s Next-Generation Rechargeable Batteries Come From Norway?

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Fride Vullum-Breuer and her team at NTNU in Trondheim hope so. Together with SINTEF they work on creating a better battery with industry partners like Elkem, Rana Gruber AS, Sydvaranger Gruver AS and Norwegian Crystallities.

Will the world’s next-generation rechargeable batteries come from Norway? Norwegian scientists want to develop greener and more vigorous batteries, using inexpensive raw materials that are plentiful in Norway.

The Rechargeable Zinc-air batteries have more than twice as much energy than conventional Li-ion batteries could store. They cost less to manufacture, are safer to use, and environmentally friendly.

Norway has knowledge and, not least, clean energy and water power, which are important to produce a new type of lithium-ion batteries.

In a zinc-air battery, oxygen from room air is used to generate current. The air is used as an electrode and the battery contains an electrolyte and a zinc electrode in a casing that is porous and allows air inside. The zinc-air battery is much safer than lithium-ion batteries because there are no volatile materials inside the battery that could possibly catch fire.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are today found in mobile phones, e-readers and laptops, and supply power to currently available electric cars.

SINTEF scientist Tommy Mokkelbost withdraws freshly baked cathode material out of a laboratory furnace. Photo: SINTEF / Gry Karin Stimo
SINTEF scientist Tommy Mokkelbost withdraws freshly baked cathode material out of a laboratory furnace. Photo: SINTEF / Gry Karin Stimo

 

As an initial step before entering into other segments, it is expected that the product’s technical aspect stand up to more than hundred times of recharging before showing any significant degradation on the batteries.

In Trondheim there are several disciplines and institutions working together on the project. But research programs all over the world are simultaneously racing to develop these kinds of batteries.

So, the question is, will the world’s next-generation rechargeable batteries come from Norway?

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Feature image (on top): Research scientists Tommy Mokkelbost and Fride Vullum-Bruer in the laboratory with powder-based materials that will be ingredients in rechargeable batteries. Photo: SINTEF / Gry Karin Stimo

Both images published by kind permission of SINTEF.