Toshiba has developed Prototype of rechargeable lithium ion battery that uses water as aqueous electrolyte with a capability of 2000 charge and discharge cycles, comparatively higher than many of today's battery technologies. This can operate up to -30°C without freezing and is also nonflammable.
Due to its fire-safety and reliability characteristics, this new battery technology is suitable for large-scale energy storage, so that unpredictable availability of solar PV and wind energy can be very well utilised.
Toshiba achieves safety through two of its technologies. Toshiba uses a material called lithium titanate oxide (LTO) instead of graphite for anode to secure the battery against shock and vibration. And with water-based aqueous electrolyte, the safety against fire is ensured.
Fire-safe, and shock and vibration withstanding features, makes them a good choice for using inside homes and offices, replacing lead acid batteries.
Normally water as electrolyte to degrade battery and cycle performance where hydrogen ions (water molecules) migrate from the cathode to the anode. Toshiba could prevent this by having a structure that combines a solid electrolyte separator and an electrolyte with a high concentration of lithium salt. This idea increases the number of charge and discharge cycles to over 2,000 and achieving a voltage of 2.4V, high for an aqueous battery.
And the most important issue with the advanced batteries is cost of manufacturing. Toshiba did not disclose much about cost but it said to reduce costs by simplifying manufacturing facilities.
Availability: Without giving any particular date of availability but Toshiba said "samples at an early date".