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09-01-2019 | Battery | News | Article

Magnesium Batteries Designed for a Post-Lithium Age

Patrick Schäfer

As part of the E-Magic project, scientists at KIT are researching the development of magnesium batteries whose benefits include higher energy density. 

The European Magnesium Interactive Battery Community (E-Magic) research project is working on the development of magnesium batteries. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) and other scientific institutions intend to investigate the use of magnesium anodes from basic research through to cell production processes. 

One advantage of magnesium anodes should be their higher energy density. "Magnesium is a promising material and one of the most important candidates in our post-lithium strategy," says Professor Maximilian Fichtner, Deputy Director of HIU. Another benefit of magnesium anodes would be that they do not form electrochemical deposits on the electrodes, in contrast to lithium-ion batteries, but there are also some drawbacks in developing magnesium batteries: "The particular challenge with magnesium batteries is to achieve a long lifetime," says Dr. Zhirong Zhao-Karger from the Solid State Chemistry Research Group at HIU.

Magnesium batteries could supersede their lithium-ion counterparts

The researchers assume that magnesium batteries will be cheaper to produce than lithium-ion ones since magnesium is about 3,000 times more abundant on earth than lithium. This could also reduce dependence on lithium. Funded by the EU through the Horizon 2020 programme, E-Magic brings together the expertise of ten scientific institutions in total.

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