Will it be the end of lithium? Scientists discover a solution to the problem of potassium batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are used in almost everything, from smartphones to portable computers, to electric vehicles.

However, they are not the most environmentally friendly option.

Scientists have been trying to develop potassium-based batteries, an option considered more sustainable, for some time now, and recently a group of researchers has made a discovery that could change the way we power equipment.

In a study published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team of researchers says they have managed to find a possible solution for the Achilles heel of potassium batteries.

One of the problems encountered in this type of battery is the formation of dendrites, or small metal crystals that can shorten their useful life and even cause explosions.

Scientists have concluded that the best way to deal with dendrites is to burn them in a controlled way, in a process they call self-regeneration.

While the fact that the developed batteries are able to heat up automatically and are potentially dangerous, the team continues to test ways to ensure the safety of users.

Now, researchers will try to replicate the results they previously obtained on industrial-size batteries.

Later this year, a team of scientists claimed to have created the most efficient lithium battery to date, promising a range of more than 1,000 kilometers to a standalone vehicle or even keeping a smartphone running for five days, both without recharging.

To create it, the scientists used the same base present in typical batteries, reconfiguring the design of the sulfur cathodes so as not to lose performance, even in situations of wear.

In addition to alternatives with heavy metals, researchers at the IBM Research Lab have managed to develop a new type of battery technology that uses substances extracted from seawater.

Scientists say the technology is able to outperform lithium batteries at cost, charging time and energy efficiency.

Since it is also less flammable, it offers possibilities for use in aircraft and smart power grids.