Aqueous battery

An aqueous battery is an electric battery that uses a water-based solution as an electrolyte. The aqueous batteries are known since 1860s, do not have the energy density and cycle life required by the grid storage and electric vehicles, but are considered safe, reliable and inexpensive in comparison with the lithium-ion ones. Until 2010s they also had an advantage in high-power applications (like cordless power tools), but this was overcome by developments in the Li-ion chemistry.

The lead-acid battery was invented by Gaston Plante in 1859, although the commercialization of the diluted sulphuric acid electrolyte design took twenty years of work by multiple inventors. After an additional half a century the modern valve-regulated (“sealed”) batteries appeared in 1930s.

Alkaline batteries first appeared at the turn of the 20th century with nickel-cadmium battery replaced by nickel-metal hydride one in the 1980s (the nickel-hydrogen battery developed in the 1970s is still used in the satellites).

In the early 2020s the aqueous batteries comprised half of the market for rechargeable batteries.

When compared to the lithium-ion batteries, the aqueous ones have the following advantages:

In comparison to the lithium-ion batteries have the following drawbacks:

The aqueous batteries are subject to an extensive research in the 21st century (with an “astounding” increase in publications since 2015); the material innovations since the beginning of the century allow better performance that that of the “traditional” aqueous batteries might lead to these batteries evolving into a companion to the lithium-ion ones in the fields of transportation and electricity storage.

Tahir et al. identify the following directions of research:

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