Improving the temperature adaptability of lithium-ion batteries has been a focal point and challenge in the industry. The latest development from the China Academy of Sciences is a new type of lithium-ion battery with a minimum working temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius and a maximum working temperature of plus 80 degrees Celsius. After a decade of research, the team has successfully mass-produced China’s first wide-temperature-range, low-cost, and long-life battery core product – a novel aluminum-based lithium-ion battery.
Traditional lithium-ion batteries, due to material limitations, typically operate in a charging temperature range of 0 degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius and a discharging temperature range of minus 20 degrees Celsius to plus 60 degrees Celsius. In cold environments, traditional lithium-ion batteries experience issues such as capacity degradation, shortened cycle life, and charging difficulties. Compared to batteries on the market with a lower limit for cold tolerance around minus 20 degrees Celsius, the new battery exhibits a broader working temperature range, superior low-temperature performance, and lower cost. The aluminum-based lithium-ion battery is both freeze-resistant and heat-resistant, with all performance indicators, including high and low-temperature performance, cycle life, and safety, meeting third-party authoritative testing standards.
The innovation in the new lithium-ion battery primarily lies in improvements to the negative electrode material and electrolyte. Traditional lithium-ion batteries typically use graphite-based materials for the negative electrode, offering good cycling stability and low cost but suffering from low capacity and slow diffusion. The new aluminum-based composite negative electrode material, developed to match commercial lithium-ion battery positive electrode materials, coupled with specific electrolyte systems for different applications, has resulted in the successful development of a new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery series, including aluminum-based lithium iron phosphate cells, aluminum-based lithium manganese oxide cells, aluminum-based lithium cobalt oxide cells, and aluminum-based ternary cells, among others, all with an ultra-wide temperature range.
The aluminum-based lithium-ion battery also boasts advantages such as low-temperature charging, long endurance, and fast charging. In terms of low-temperature charging performance, the new aluminum-based battery achieves normal charging at minus 30 degrees Celsius. Thanks to the high theoretical capacity of the aluminum-based negative electrode material, the energy density of the battery is 13%-25% higher than that of traditional lithium-ion batteries, leading to extended endurance. Additionally, with the excellent conductivity of the aluminum-based composite negative electrode, the product can be fully charged in 20 minutes, providing a solution for half-hour charging requirements.
In terms of pricing, the new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery is 5%-10% more expensive than mainstream lithium-ion batteries on the market. However, when compared to other low-temperature battery products currently available, the cost of the new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery can be reduced by 10%-30% based on material selection.
Regarding safety, traditional lithium-ion batteries are prone to lithium dendrite formation under overcharging or low-temperature conditions, potentially piercing the separator and causing hidden dangers such as short circuits. The new aluminum-based negative electrode effectively mitigates lithium dendrite formation under overcharging or low-temperature conditions, enhancing safety. Although the theoretical advantages of the new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery are apparent, its application still requires market validation.
There is still room for further improvement in the capacity of the new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery. Increasing battery capacity may lead to aluminum expansion and pulverization issues, resulting in decreased stability. Balancing the relationship between capacity and cycle life is a key focus of the next-generation development of aluminum-based lithium-ion batteries.
The new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery can be applied in various fields such as photovoltaic energy storage, home energy storage, communication base station energy storage, rail transportation, aerospace, and polar exploration, especially excelling in segmented markets such as high-cold regions. The new aluminum-based lithium-ion battery has achieved large-scale production in multiple application areas, but overall, it is still in the market promotion stage.