We've heard about aluminum-air or aluminum-oxygen batteries for years, and we've reported on them several times. Way back in 2014, we reported on the debut of a 1,000-mile aluminum-air battery, and in 2016, we reported that an aluminum-air battery was ready for commercialization. You can see how these stories turned out. For this reason, we don't report on battery breakthroughs often.
We could honestly probably report on an EV battery breakthrough every week, though most of these aren't actually breakthroughs, but technology and chemistries that have been in the testing stages for years. However, we'd like to think that eventually, many new battery technologies will come to the forefront. If new tech and advancements weren't bound to happen, we probably wouldn't have lithium-ion batteries or electric cars in the first place.
Now, Indian Oil Corp. is banking on aluminum-air EV batteries as a better alternative over lithium, especially in areas where lithium is scarce. The nation's foremost oil refiner has joined hands with a startup called Phinergy Ltd. to develop the aluminum-air battery.
India doesn't have easy access to lithium, so it makes sense that it would attempt to find an alternative. Indian Oil Corp. Research and Development Director S.S.V. Ramakumar told Bloomberg via Autoblog:
“Lithium is scarce in the country and we started scouting for an element which is abundantly available as a natural resource."
On the flip side, India has loads of aluminum, and the country has been investing heavily in it for many years. Head of Energy Storage at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London shared:
“Clearly the special consideration here is that aluminum is in better supply than lithium. But with the ever-falling prices of lithium-based systems, developers will be under pressure to find niche applications where Aluminum-Oxygen can gain a foothold.”
Reportedly, these aluminum-air batteries are very energy-dense, which means even in a much smaller and lighter package, they'll be able to provide significantly more range. They're also cheaper and safer than lithium-ion batteries.
With that said, there's a major caveat. These aluminum-oxygen batteries can't be recharged. Instead, drivers will head to a gas station and quickly swap them. The used batteries will then be recycled. They're also reportedly less toxic than other batteries, as well as easier to recycle.
Visit the Autoblog link below for more details. Then scroll down and leave us a comment. In addition, check out the video below for more information about aluminum-air batteries: