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New Battery Technology Aims to Topple Lithium Ion

Ionic Materials touts new electric storage technology cheaper and safer than current technology.

A Massachusetts startup, Ionic Materials, is working on developing a solid-state alkaline battery as a replacement to the occasionally fire-prone, widely used, lithium ion battery.

Ionic is developing the new battery, envisioning that it can be recharged hundreds of times, according to a report in the New York Times.

“Ionic said it had developed prototypes of a rechargeable alkaline battery that can be made using continuous manufacturing processes similar to the making of plastic wrap,” the newspaper reported. “So far, the company, which is backed by William Joy, a pioneering Silicon Valley computer designer, has demonstrated up to 400 recharge cycles for its prototypes. Ionic executives say they believe they will be able to triple that.”

The new batteries would not need cobalt, while lithium ion uses cobalt which is difficult to source.

“Cobalt mines in Africa, for example, have been accused of using child labor while leaving behind a toxic mess,” the Times reported.

The announcement is scheduled at the Rocky Mountain Institute, headed by Amory Lovins.

“Batteries are very difficult and I want to see what they have and what can be measured and proven and whether it will get to market,” Lovins told the Times.

Lovins will be the lead off keynote speaker at the Empowering Customers & Cities executive energy conference in Chicago November 7-8.

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