This year, the Department of Physics at Chalmers takes place on the list with the research project Carbat (Calcium Rechargeable Battery Technology), which explores the concept of rechargeable calcium batteries.
Carbat started as a Future Emerging Technologies project within the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, with Chalmers as one of four partners via Professor Patrik Johansson's research group at the division of Materials Physics. Parts of the research, primarily on new electrolytes, now continue with funding from the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Energy Agency.
Calcium batteries – a potential solution for various major energy storage
A global societal challenge of today is how to store renewable energy, preferably in the form of high-quality energy such as electricity. Furthermore, the Earth's resources are finite.
The rechargeable calcium battery has the potential to be a partial solution for large-scale storage of renewable energy from, for example, solar and wind power. The reason is mainly two-fold; it can have an almost doubled energy density compared to the currently dominant lithium-ion battery, and calcium is the fifth most common element in the Earth's crust, which provides a long-term sustainable technology and also a cost advantage.
“We have found promising combinations at the materials and concept level. We can now construct functioning cells in the lab, but it is of course a completely different thing to develop a commercially viable product. If you can construct calcium batteries based on the materials we have today or similar, they will most likely have a significantly lower environmental impact,” says Patrik Johansson.
Important to convey knowledge
Patrik Johansson sees the placement on IVA’s 100 list as an important step in conveying knowledge about the research conducted at the universities. It is also a way of showing research's relevance for solving real problems.
“Knowledge building is in itself an extremely important task for a university researcher, but if we do not present the potential solutions we might have to the great problems facing humanity, we have somehow betrayed our trust. Seeing how ideas and reality match while facing a challenge – that’s the real fun.”
Text: Lisa Gahnertz
Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist
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