Creating water-in-salt-like environment using coordinating anions in non-concentrated aqueous electrolytes for efficient Zn plating

12 January 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Rechargeable aqueous Zn metal batteries are promising systems for grid storage because of their high energy density, low cost, and non-flammability. However, Zn metal anodes have major limitations due to dendrite formation and concurrent water splitting during charge-discharge cycling. Both processes negatively affect coulombic efficiency (CE) and long-term cycling stability. Water-in-salt (WIS) electrolytes were previously proposed to address these challenges, yielding improvements in the cycling stability of Zn metal anodes. While WIS electrolytes help increase CE, they require high amounts of salt (often toxic) and have dramatically increased viscosity, which in turn limit their transport properties, charge-discharge rates, and usability in advanced Zn batteries. In this manuscript, we propose a strategy for simultaneously achieving high CE (>99.99%), high rate, low cost and reduced environmental footprint. Specifically, we show that by using coordinating anions like acetate a WIS-like Zn coordination environment can be achieved even in relatively dilute conditions, enabling prolonged cycling of Zn metal anodes. Such electrolytes have an order of magnitude higher conductivity and lower viscosity than traditional WIS electrolytes, thus enabling lower overpotentials and higher rate of Zn plating/stripping.



Supplementary materials

Supporting information
Supplementary tables, figure and text


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