Magnesium has long been considered a potential replacement for lithium in the production of batteries. The commonly used lithium is not stable and can ignite under certain conditions. To make lithium-ion batteries safer, engineers have to incorporate graphite rods into them. This inevitably affects the stored energy reserve.
On the other hand magnesium is much more stable than lithium, and batteries based on it have better energy intensity. The problem of its application was the difficulty of obtaining an electrolyte, which would not decompose magnesium. However, the accidental discovery during the study of hydrogen fuel cells allowed to solve the problem.
A scientist-chemist from Toyota Rana Mohtadi accidentally heard her colleagues discuss the problems of creating an electrolyte that is friendly with magnesium. Mohtadi realized that the properties of the material for storing hydrogen, over which she worked, could solve the problem with magnesium batteries. The researchers formed a team and tested the hypothesis.
At the moment, scientists from Toyota hope to attract colleagues from other countries to create new magnesium batteries. For the mass application of technology, they will have to do a lot of work, which will take a year.