IBM develops new battery tech

This is interesting.


So it’s basically a different electrolyte that doesn’t need heavy metal. This electrolyte also prevents formation of spiky structure which leads to internal short circuit in batteries.

The main components of this electrolyte can be obtained from sea water instead of environmentally destructive heavy metal mining.

Did I miss anything else?

Edit: changes sea weed to sea water.


I thought it said seawater.


not much, just:
cheaper to manufacture, higher energy density, easier to obtain…


they had me at higher energy density and no spikey structures.


i was hooked at lower cost and higher energy density


ain’t shit without discharrrrge. They mention good charge rates, which could come with good discharge rates?

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This or glass battery, I hope at least of those 2 technologies goes somewhere.

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I’m not sure if I’d rather have better energy to weight, or more charge cycles with no risk of dendrites.

If there’s one thing I’d like to have be set it and forget it, its the batteries.


Unfortunately companies and researchers brag about revolutionary battery technologies for years and years now, often claiming to be market ready within 2 years or so and speculating about awesome properties like energy density, charge time, cycle life etc. only based on a few lab experiments. Reality then looks a lot different.

I am waiting since years for batteries like Li-air, Li-sulfur or solid-state to make significant progress. But as soon as you leave the lab conditions and try to scale things up to build an actual cell, the proposed theoretical properties begin to vanish.


Solid state seems like the best bet at the moment. As well as the general advancement or cost reduction of li-ion


I know Tesela is researching a new tech and opening it up to the industry to help get everyone up to speed.


Dyson are also in the mix, they bought Sakti3 with the intention of putting solid state batteries into their EV (which is now canned) but I don’t see why they would stop working on the battery tech, it translates to their whole portfolio and they chucked 100+ million on the research already.

I’ve been following it because Dyson tends not to fuck around and just drop hawt shit on the market blowing the competition away.


Others are stepping up to the plate to compete with Tesla… better for all of us.

IBM has developed a new type of battery that’s free of cobalt, nickel and other heavy metals, avoiding the environmental and humanitarian issues related to lithium-ion technology.

The battery is made from three materials that can be extracted from seawater, a much less invasive sourcing method than mining.

IBM Research, the innovation arm of tech company IBM, says there is no record of these materials, which include lithium iodide and a new and proprietary electrolyte formulation, previously being combined into a battery.

Importantly, they have also proved that the battery outperforms lithium-ion versions, so it has the potential to improve electric vehicles and energy storage.

When optimised for performance, the battery has a higher power density than lithium-ion, meaning potentially smaller batteries that could be transformative for technology like electric aircraft.

In addition, it takes only five minutes to reach an 80 per cent charge, a length of time similar to filling up a tank of petrol at a service station. It is also low-cost, thanks to the materials sourcing method, and has low flammability, so it is safer to use.

The new battery would be based on materials extracted from seawater

“This new research could help eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production and transform the long-term sustainability of many elements of our energy infrastructure,” Young-Hye Na, manager of materials innovations for next-generation batteries at IBM Research’s lab in Almaden, California, wrote in a blog post.

“In the quickly evolving arena of flying vehicles and electric aircrafts, having access to batteries with very high-power density, which can scale a power load quickly, is critical.”

For smart power grids and renewable energy infrastructure, IBM Research says it can design the battery for a long-life cycle, prioritising longevity and stability.

Current lithium-ion batteries rely on two key metals – cobalt and nickel – that have a negative impact on the people who mine them, as well as the environment.

Cobalt is a particular problem. It is almost exclusively mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where its toxic dust threatens the health of miners – often child labourers – and local communities.

The battery doesn’t make use of heavy metals

In December, the nonprofit group International Rights Advocates sued Apple, Tesla and other tech companies over the deaths of children working in these mines.

The new battery still uses lithium, but because it is generated from seawater rather than mined, there is little impact on the environment.

IBM Research is on of the world’s largest research organisation, with 12 labs across six continents. It regularly works on emergies technologies such as AI, blockchain and quantum computing.

IBM recently worked with Map Project Office and Universal Design to design the Q System One, the world’s first commercial quantum computer.

While IBM Research’s battery is currently in an early stage of development, the organisation hopes to one day bring the product to market.

It is partnering with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America as well as battery companies Central Glass and Sidus to further develop the technology.


I’ll believe it when I see a production cell performing as advertised. Too many bold claims in this research area in the last years.


The race to lower prices and smaller batteries with more storage and power!

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Thanks @mmaner completely missed this…

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My question is probably the same one we are all thinking, when does this hit the market, especially for esk8? I’m hoping to get a battery pack within the year. But I’d be willing to wait a bit if it meant a better pack, less cells, better efficiency, etc.

Even if this tech proves to be viable, we are talking years before it comes out to the market so you are better off using the current stuff.

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I was afraid that would be the case… Ugh.