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IIT Madras Team Develops World's First Iron-Ion Battery, Cheaper and Safer than Lithium Ion

IIT-Madras' iron-ion battery promises a low-cost stable alternative to the existing mainstream lithium-ion battery.

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A research team from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras or IIT-Madras has officially developed the world's first iron-ion battery. (Image: Twitter/ Amitabh Kant)

A research team from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras or IIT-Madras has officially developed the world's first iron-ion battery. The newly-developed battery promises a low-cost stable alternative to the existing mainstream lithium-ion battery. The iron-ion battery is made using an anode made from low-carbon steel, instead of pure iron, along with a cathode made of vanadium pentoxide, which is suitable for the movement of iron ion, due to its larger gap.

The iron-ion battery is also equipped with an electrolyte made using iron chlorate. Developed by IIT-Madras, the iron-ion battery are much more cost-effective, and features slightly better storage capacity and stability compared to the traditional lithium-ion batteries. According to the IIT-Madras research team's finding, iron-ion batteries are also safer to use than lithium batteries due to the inability of iron to produce dendrites during the charging process and therefore, prevents short-circuiting of the batteries.

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The other notable benefit of iron-ion batteries, according to the research team, is its favourable physical and chemical properties. “The redox potential of iron ion is higher than lithium-ion, and the radius of the Fe2+ ion is nearly the same as that of the lithium-ion,” the team claims, adding that these two favourable properties of iron have been overlooked for so many years. And that’s the reason why they don’t have iron ion rechargeable batteries.

Another amazing thing about this made-in India batteries is the power retention after multiple charge cycles. The findings of the research team have shown that iron-ion battery is only capable of 150 cycles of charging and discharging for the time being. At the present stage, the energy density of the battery is also only able to reach around 220 Wh/kilo, which is only around 55-60 per cent of the 350 Wh/kilo of energy density for lithium-ion battery.

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