Toyota details magnesium battery ‘breakthrough’

Toyota details magnesium battery ‘breakthrough’

Toyota has highlighted potential ‘breakthrough’ battery research at its North America research institute.

Scientists have discovered a new electrolyte that works with magnesium anodes, providing an alternative to lithium-based battery technologies. Toyota suggests magnesium has been viewed as a safer and more energy-dense battery material, however development has been limited by a lack of compatible electrolytes.

Toyota researchers stumbled on a possible solution when tinkering with materials designed for hydrogen fuel cells. The discovery was detailed in a paper titled “An Efficient Halogen-Free Electrolyte for Use in Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries,” published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

“We were able to take a material that was only used in hydrogen storage and we made it practical and very competitive for magnesium battery chemistry,” said Toyoya principal scientist and chemical engineer Rana Mohtadi. “It was exciting.”

Most automakers are not expecting a significant battery breakthrough to revolutionize energy storage. Several promising technologies are under development, however the vast majority will fail to make it from the lab to the assembly line.

“While it’s easy to get caught up in the potential of a dramatically improved battery, it could take 20 years of research and development before magnesium batteries reach the consumer market,” Toyota admits.

The company is promoting additional research on its magnesium-friendly electrolyte to determine if it holds promise for future production batteries, wether in wristwatches or electric vehicles.

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