The new CFx battery design has a multipurpose electrolyte of solid lithium thiophosphate that can be an ion conductor and also serve as a cathode. The electrolyte can carry charge and hold ions, which helps boost the energy capacity of the battery. The prototype CFx battery has a solid electrolyte, while conventional batteries have liquid electrolytes, Liang said.
"You have an electrolyte that not only does its own job, it provides the function of the cathode," Liang said. "You can also store energy in the electrolyte."
The dual-functioning electrolyte could lead to new battery designs, and new batteries could be in the market in a few years, Liang said. He wasn't able to determine the cost of making such batteries.
"I have no idea of mass production and how much it's going to cost for each individual battery. All the material we use here is abundant.," Liang said.
ORNL researchers worked for three to four years on this battery technology and are researching new solid electrolyte materials, Liang said.
ORNL, based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is managed by University of Tennessee, Battelle.
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