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Chinese researchers develop novel aluminum–graphite dual-ion battery

A team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a novel, environmentally friendly low-cost battery. The new aluminum-graphite dual-ion battery (AGDIB) offers significantly reduced weight, volume, and fabrication cost, as well as higher energy density, in comparison with conventional LIBs.

The battery shows a reversible capacity of ≈100 mAh g−1 and a capacity retention of 88% after 200 charge–discharge cycles. A packaged aluminum–graphite battery is estimated to deliver an energy density of ≈150 Wh kg−1 at a power density of ≈1200 W kg−1—≈50% higher than most commercial lithium-ion batteries. A paper on the work is published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

LIBs are widely used in portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. Battery disposal creates major environmental problems, since most batteries contain toxic metals in their electrodes. According to the Freedonia Group, world battery demand is expected to rise 7.7% annually, reaching US$120 billion in 2019.

The AGDIB’s electrode materials consist of environmentally friendly low-cost aluminum and graphite only, while its electrolyte is composed of conventional lithium salt and carbonate solvent.

Compared with conventional LIBs, this battery (AGDIB) shows an advantage in production cost (~ 50% lower), specific density (~1.3-2.0 times), and energy density (~1.6-2.8 times).

—Yongbing Tang, leader of the research team

The AGDIB mechanism follows a dual ion intercalation/alloying process. Upon charging, anions in the electrolyte intercalate into the graphite cathode, while the Li+ ions in the electrolyte deposit onto the aluminum counter electrode to form an Al–Li alloy.

Schematic structure of the AGDIB (Image by Professor TANG Yongbing).

The discharge process is the reverse of the charging process, where both anions and Li+ ions diffuse back into the electrolyte. Since the Al counter electrode in the AGDIB acts as the anode and the current collector at the same time, the dead load and dead volume of the AGDIB is significantly reduced, making a battery with both high specific energy density and high volume energy density.

The team estimated the specific energy density and power density of the AGDIB according to the configuration of a packaged battery. Results show that the AGDIB can deliver a specific energy density of ~222 Wh kg−1 at a power density of 132 W kg−1, and ~150 Wh kg−1 at 1200 W kg−1. Compared with commercial LIB (~200 Wh kg−1 at 50 W kg−1, and ~100 Wh kg−1 at 1000 W kg−1) and electrochemical capacitors (~5 Wh kg−1 at 5000 W kg−1), the AGDIB showed significantly improved performance.

The volume energy density of the AGDIB can reach ~560 Wh/L, which is much higher than traditional batteries (~350 Wh/L for Tesla Model S and ~200 Wh/L for BYD E6).

For example, a 500 kg AGDIB-based power battery could reach a recharge mileage of ~550 km (~425 km for Tesla Model S and ~225 km for BYD E6), and a 200 L AGDIB-based power battery could deliver range of about 560 km.

The AGDIB shows real potential for large-scale application in both electronic devices and electric vehicles, the researchers said.

This research was supported by the Guangdong Innovation Team and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


  • Zhang, X., Tang, Y., Zhang, F. and Lee, C.-S. (2016) “A Novel Aluminum–Graphite Dual-Ion Battery.” Adv. Energy Mater. doi: 10.1002/aenm.201502588



Once fine tuned and mass produced (in China?), this could become a leader for much lower cost, higher performance batteries for future fixed storage applications, PHEVs and extended range BEVs?

BYD (and others) could mass produce them for their e-buses, e-taxis, e-vehicles, fixed storage units and export?

Interesting development if they can operate in all weather conditions and accept ultra quick charges.


Very nice energy density but cycle life (200) is low.


How does "a capacity retention of 88% after 200 charge–discharge cycles" compare to Li-ion? That doesn't seem to be a great performance. To be viable for commercial applications I'd expect you'd need the capacity drop to be better than 12% after 2,000 cycles.


Because the energy density is fairly low at 150 kW/kg, this might be useful for home electric storage or to run a garden tractor, if they can get the life cycle up.

As Aha

they compare Tesla's battery level cpacity to probably theoretical their cell. As for cycle life 88 at 200 - ok, but it is more important how it bahves after that, does degradation slowdown, remains same or even simply fails to function randomly after those 200.


The good side of this is it may be a way to improve power density which also helps with faster charging.

Of course, the energy density is way too low in this current form as is the cycle life. So it's more likely just interesting research that may lead to power density improvements by 'doping' other chemistries or something along those lines. In this current incarnation it's not useful for anything compared to other batteries on the market.


But they're made from beer cans and pencils! No rare earth or highly toxic stuff?


excellent point!


"....while its electrolyte is composed of conventional lithium salt and carbonate solvent."
Well, I'd suggest to replace the graphite with CNTs and a suited polymer as an electrolyte. That should increase power - and energy density and also increase cycle life. Get all that fine-tuned and you'll have a solid state battery pointing the way to tomorrow.


This is an early test model.

Yes Yoatmon, fine-tuning and further development will improve the product by 2020/2025?

This may may one of many post lithium batteries?


Hurry-up, my actual gas car is 11 years old so im actually planning to replace it in some years but i really don't know what car i will be buying. Im looking in this website for a car that i can be in some years and i noticed that this battery is NOT ACTUALLY on the market... Hurry-up i said. IN some years if nothing change i will buy the same car i actually own but newer and if nothing appear than i will repair and drive my actual car for another 20 years, is it clear now. These car sellers are stupid and incompetant and are missing millions of sale. Hopefully for them gasoline prices have fallen and stupid peoples change their perfectly working car for a bigger new suv, LOL.


Gor, NO!!!!! You can't get rid of the old Neon! That car has been precious to us all as we've heard about it for YEARS!!!!


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