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Battery efficiency solution: Just add a dash of potassium salt

Lithium-metal batteries are lighter and have a higher energy storage capability than their lithium-ion counterparts, but their use has been restricted due to safety concerns. The inclusion of an electrode made of lithium makes the batteries more prone to short-circuiting. That problem, however, may soon be a thing of the past after researchers found that adding a small amount of potassium salt can make these efficient batteries more stable. 

Researchers from Columbia University found that adding potassium salt to lithium-metal batteries prevents the accumulation of lithium deposits on the electrode surface that causes short-circuiting. Additionally, the potassium salt actually made the batteries more efficient, increasing the charging efficiency from 84 to 88 percent. 

The restricted range of electric vehicles makes some potential owners wary of making the switch to electric, but the potential of safe lithium-metal batteries with a longer range could boost the electric vehicle transition. The team’s next steps are to investigate how potassium can be used to push efficiency even further. 

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