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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

AI Revolutionises Battery Tech, Reduces Lithium Use

Image by Dan DeLong for Microsoft

Microsoft and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have found a new substance that could potentially reduce lithium use in batteries by up to 70%.


This discovery was made possible by the power of AI and supercomputing, which sifted through 32 million potential materials to identify 18 promising candidates in less than a week. This process would have taken over two decades using traditional lab research methods!


This new material, currently known as N2116, is a solid-state electrolyte. It's been tested and used to power a lightbulb, demonstrating its potential as a sustainable energy storage solution. Solid-state batteries are safer than traditional liquid or gel-like lithium batteries and offer the promise of faster charging and higher energy density.


The demand for lithium, a key component in rechargeable batteries, is expected to skyrocket in the coming years. However, lithium mining can be controversial due to its environmental impact. Therefore, any material that reduces lithium use and offers good energy storage capabilities is a game-changer for the industry.


AI and supercomputing are proving to be invaluable tools in the field of scientific research, accelerating the pace of discovery and innovation. In the words of Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft, the goal is to "compress 250 years of scientific discovery into the next 25". This breakthrough in battery technology is a fantastic example of how AI is helping to achieve that goal.


However, as with all new technologies, it's important to proceed with caution. While AI can speed up the discovery process, it's crucial to thoroughly test and verify the results.


In conclusion, the discovery of N2116 is a significant step towards a more sustainable future. It showcases the power of AI in accelerating scientific discovery and offers a promising solution to the increasing demand for lithium. So, let's keep our eyes on this space for more exciting developments!



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