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Magnesium-Ion Batteries: A Game-Changing Development in Energy Storage

A groundbreaking discovery by a team of scientists at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has led to the development of a high-performance quasi-solid-state magnesium-ion (Mg-ion) battery, which has the potential to revolutionize the energy storage industry. Led by Professor Dennis Y.C. Leung from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the team’s innovative design addresses the limitations of material scarcity and safety concerns associated with traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Traditionally, lithium-ion batteries have been the go-to choice for energy storage. However, the drawbacks of lithium-ion batteries have paved the way for alternative solutions, such as magnesium-ion batteries. Magnesium-ion batteries have garnered attention due to their potential as a viable replacement, but they face obstacles like limited electrochemical window in water-based systems and low ionic conductivity in non-aqueous systems.

To overcome these challenges, Professor Leung’s team developed a magnesium-ion battery that operates at a voltage higher than 2 V and contains water. Although the new battery design still lags behind its non-aqueous counterparts due to the cathode’s preference for proton storage over magnesium-ion storage, the team’s groundbreaking design shows promise.

The quasi-solid-state magnesium-ion battery (QSMB) utilizes a polymer-enhanced electrolyte to regulate the competition between protons and metal ions. This innovative design achieves an energy density of 264 W·h kg⁻¹ and a voltage plateau of 2.4 V, surpassing existing magnesium-ion batteries and performing nearly as well as lithium-ion batteries.

One remarkable aspect of the QSMB is its impressive resilience. After undergoing 900 cycles, the battery maintained 90% of its capacity, even in extremely low temperatures (-22 °C). Moreover, the QSMB is resistant to pressures higher than 40 atmospheric pressure and is non-combustible, making it a safe and reliable option for consumer electronics.

Dr. Wending Pan, a Research Assistant Professor in Professor Leung’s team, believes that the QSMB technology has the potential to transform the landscape of energy storage and power the world sustainably. The research also holds promise for the development of other multivalent metal ion batteries, such as zinc-ion and aluminum-ion batteries, offering efficient and environmentally friendly energy storage solutions.

The study, published in Science Advances under the title “Next-generation magnesium-ion batteries: The quasi-solid-state approach to multivalent metal ion storage,” marks a significant advancement in battery technology and opens up new possibilities for the future of energy storage.


1. What is a magnesium-ion battery?

A magnesium-ion battery is an alternative to the traditional lithium-ion battery that utilizes magnesium ions instead of lithium ions for energy storage.

2. What are the advantages of a magnesium-ion battery?

Magnesium-ion batteries offer a potential solution to the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, such as material scarcity and safety concerns. They have the potential for higher energy density and improved safety features.

3. How does the quasi-solid-state magnesium-ion battery differ from traditional magnesium-ion batteries?

The quasi-solid-state magnesium-ion battery (QSMB) uses a polymer-enhanced electrolyte to regulate the competition between protons and metal ions, improving the battery’s performance and safety.

4. What are the potential applications of magnesium-ion batteries?

Magnesium-ion batteries can be used in various applications, including consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy storage.

5. What is the significance of the research conducted by Professor Leung’s team?

The research conducted by Professor Leung’s team represents a major advancement in battery technology, offering a safe, high-energy-density, and sustainable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. It has the potential to revolutionize the energy storage industry and pave the way for the next generation of efficient and environmentally friendly energy storage solutions.