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10-01-2024 | Battery | Editor´s Pick | News

US Project Aims to Reduce Lithium in Batteries with the Help of AI

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This is a partly automated translation of this german article by dpa.

New battery material discovered by AI could reduce the amount of lithium in rechargeable batteries. A prototype of such a new type of battery has already been developed.

A US Department of Energy research facility is working with Microsoft on a project that could reduce the amount of lithium used in a rechargeable battery by up to 70%. This was announced jointly by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the software company.

The light metal lithium is an indispensable component of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electric vehicles, smartphones, laptops and other portable devices. The high demand for electric vehicles in particular has made lithium one of the most sought-after raw materials worldwide.

AI Accelerates the Search for Battery Materials

The prototype of such a new type of battery, which uses significantly less lithium, has already been developed, the PNNL and Microsoft also announced. A new suitable material has been identified with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and the use of high-performance computers from Microsoft's Azure Quantum Elements cloud platform. The PNNL has already been able to produce this material artificially in the laboratory. "It is a real, functioning battery prototype that can power a light bulb."

In the research project, 32 million potential materials were narrowed down to 18 promising candidates in just 80 hours. This significantly shortened a process that would have taken decades with traditional research.

Tony Peurrung, PNNL's deputy director of science and technology, said the interplay of AI, cloud and high-performance computing, along with human scientists, is key to accelerating the path to meaningful scientific results. "We see the potential of AI to find an approach that is unexpected or unconventional, but still worth exploring." This is a first step on an interesting journey that will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

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