Stanford University scientists have developed the first high-performance aluminum-ion battery that’s fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive. The researchers say the new technology offers a safe alternative to many commercial batteries in wide use today.

An aluminum-ion battery consists of two electrodes: a negatively charged anode made of aluminum and a positively charged cathode. The prototype battery has an aluminum anode and graphite cathode, with an ionic liquid electrolyte, inside a flexible polymer- coated pouch.

The aluminum batteries are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries which can be a fire hazard. In addition, whereas lithium-ion batteries can take hours to charge, the Stanford team has reported “unprecedented charging times” of down to one minute with their aluminum prototype.

The Stanford battery was able to withstand more than 7,500 cycles without any loss of capacity. By comparison, a typical lithium-ion battery lasts about 1,000 cycles.