IBM unveils heavy metal-free battery that performs better than Li-ion

IBM Research has unveiled new battery materials extracted from seawater that it says could help eliminate the need for dangerous heavy metals in battery production.

Use of the three new proprietary materials create a battery chemistry that does not use heavy metals or other substances that suffer from concerns about sourcing.

Beyond the environmental and humanitarian benefits, researchers say the new materials can be optimized to surpass the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries, specifically offering: 

  • Lower cost: The active cathode materials tend to cost less because they are free of cobalt, nickel, and other heavy metals.
  • Faster charging: Less than five minutes required to reach an 80% SOC, without compromising specific discharge capacity.
  • High power density: More than 10,000 W/L, which exceeds the power level that lithium-ion battery technology can achieve.
  • High energy density: More than 800 Wh/L, comparable to lithium-ion batteries.
  • Excellent energy efficiency: More than 90% efficient, calculated from the ratio of the energy to discharge the battery over the energy to charge the battery.
  • Low flammability of electrolytes.

The materials also demonstrated an ability to suppress lithium metal dendrites during charging, which are a significant challenge to the greater adoption of lithium metal batteries.

Plans for battery development are still in the exploratory phase. To move from early-stage exploratory research into commercial development, IBM Research has partnered with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, electrolyte supplier Central Glass, and battery manufacturer Sidus.

Source: IBM Research via Green Car Congress

  • freedomev

    We’ll see.

  • Dennis Worley

    Why don’t they join with Tesla?

    • Brian Woodcraft

      Probably because Tesla are already partnered with Panasonic who supply all their cells

  • Lance Pickup

    It would be nice, for once, to see what problems still remain to be solved to commercialize this, but since these stories tend to just be rehashes of press releases, there is generally nothing even remotely negative stated.

    I’m going to guess that a major roadblock at this point is cycle life, since it is not mentioned at all in the otherwise extensive list of advantages. I suppose if cost is low enough, a low cycle life would be acceptable, but if I had to guess I’d guess it’s probably only around 100 cycles or less now.

  • Robert Cattle

    Just want northvolt to join with Southamp and we could have a great battery

  • Graeme Taylor

    They didn’t unvail a battery they unvailed research, thanks for wasting my time with your click bait title. Zero respect.

  • Peter Cesca

    They discovered this in August last year and you only now reporting this after several other sites have already reported it.

  • Mani

    Thanks a lot but what is the use when it is under custody of IBM and will not see the light of public. it should compete at a cheaper rate with Liion battery. I have lost hope of getting cheaper battery for my vehicle use .

  • Mani

    Better not to post some cheap tricks to lure public unless they bring into public to compete li ion batteries.