As we discover new methods to enhance our everyday items to improve the environment, scientists have been working on the invention of potassium batteries. Our current lithium batteries contain cobalt which is a mineral that is troublesome to mine. These new batteries can be manufactured cheaper because they do not use any exotic materials, which means they can be made anywhere and could help out the economy. These batteries have the ability to store renewable energy that comes from sources such as solar and wind. It does not emit carbon dioxide because of this and has no contribution to global warming. But it requires being in a setting that offers either enough sun or wind to obtain and store enough energy for it to provide it in the future.
Yiyang Wu created the potassium battery in 2013, believing it could store twice the energy of a standard battery. But his batteries were unable to recharge numerous times to be cost-effective to his demise. The issue he kept facing was that oxygen kept creeping into the location where the unit could be charged by electrons. This made it incapable of recharging more than 5 to 10 times. By using the below picture to clarify the issue to the solution. The polymer was incorporated into the cathode to protect the oxygen from leaking into the anode. But allowing the oxygen to remain in the cathode, as it is necessary for it to operate
(Image provided Hitachi Chemical)
Paul Gilmore was the one who thought of the idea of adding polymer and with the new improvement the battery was able to recharge 125 times. This is 12 times longer than the previous amount. As the future is to one day incorporate these batteries into vehicles while replacing lithium-ion batteries that power electronic cars the price would drastically decrease. The current cost is $100 per kilowatt-hour but when switching to potassium-oxygen batteries researchers estimated that batteries will cost $44 per kilowatt-hour. This would be a big step forward into switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy.