Serbian team on the threshold of scientific discoveries: batteries without toxic and rare materials

One of the main tasks of scientists around the world in recent years is to work on storage of large amounts of energy, i.e. batteries that would store the generated energy and thereby contribute to a more efficient energy transition.

Among the numerous researchers is a group of six young scientists from Serbia who are looking for a battery that would not contain extremely toxic and at the same time rare materials such as lithium or cobalt.

Under the name HiSuperBat (Healthy super battery) they have created a system that does not contain lithium and cobalt but calcium or magnesium, and also uses an aqueous electrolyte that is not flammable and toxic like commercial organic electrolyte.

Doctor Milica Vujković, who manages the project, states that the development of such battery systems could be an excellent energy solution, because thereby the usage of expensive and scarce lithium will be avoided, the cost of the battery will be reduced and safety will be increased…

That is why the search for new, cheap and safer materials, capable of storing a large amount of multivalent ions, is of great importance and is the subject of numerous researches in the world, including the HiSuperBat project, which received 180,000 euros.

Their two-year project, which ends at the end of 2022, is one of 59 selected projects supported through the Promis project supported by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia.

“The project is focused on the development of electrode materials for the next generation of electrical energy storage devices, based on more naturally occurring elements such as calcium, aluminum, and magnesium,” Milica Vujković, a research associate at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry, said for the N1 portal.

She points out that all young experts have expertise in the synthesis and structural study of micro/nanomaterials, electrochemistry, batteries and supercapacitors, that the project has provided new fundamental and practical knowledge in the field of energy storage, which has been published in 11 international scientific journals and 18 conference announcements.

Materials have been developed that can store a large amount of multivalent ions per unit mass.

“On the one hand, carbon material has been developed as an electrode material for supercapacitors of the latest generation, which can store large amounts of aluminum, magnesium and calcium ions on the basis of charge.

A supercapacitor was constructed at the level of a single cell, with carbon electrodes obtained from waste biomass (from the wine industry) and an aqueous electrolyte based on aluminum positive ions, whose optimal operating voltage in terms of long-term charge/discharge is 1.5 volts (V), which is half a volt more than a classic water supercapacitor,” she says.

These results were published in the prestigious electrochemical magazine Journal of Power Sources, and were done in cooperation with Montenegro and Slovenia.

In addition, the young scientists showed how the voltage and capacity properties of the carbon cathode can be improved by mixing aluminum and calcium ions.

Vujković also points out that a cathode material for batteries based on vanadium oxide has been developed that can store a large amount of calcium ions, showing higher capacities compared to the storage of lithium ion charges.

“By combining the aforementioned carbon material as an anode, calcium vanadium oxide as a cathode and an electrolyte based on calcium salt, we assembled a hybrid cell that has an optimal voltage of 1.4-1.5 volts (V).

The advantage over classic lithium-ion systems is that the constructed battery cell does not contain lithium and cobalt, and uses an aqueous electrolyte that is not flammable and toxic like commercial organic electrolytes,” she says.

As a disadvantage, Vujković cites a lower voltage compared to a commercial lithium ion cell due to the use of an aqueous instead of an organic electrolyte.

“However, something like that could be replaced by sequentially connecting more cells, which would produce a heavier battery.”

For this reason, their potential application is currently limited to systems where weight and volume are not limiting and price plays a primary role”, says our interlocutor.

Production in Serbia

The research was started with the idea that potential discoveries can be made in Serbia. It is the same now. Milica says that the constructed carbon supercapacitor as well as the hybrid cell have the potential to be produced in Serbia.

“Their performance is obtained at the level of a coin-shaped cell, which would enable application in some everyday needs: watches, toys, kitchen scales, car keys, calculators…” she states.

However, before this could happen, additional experiments are necessary in terms of optimizing cell performance.

“There is room to improve the material’s performance and overcome its weak points, and we have several ideas in mind that could be implemented.”

After the completed phase at the laboratory level, the transfer of knowledge to the industrial sector would entail testing the reproducibility of the synthesis of the given materials on a larger scale and their functionality, as well as the optimization of the cell assembly procedure for mass needs.

Such batteries would have the potential to replace lead accumulators or nickel-cadmium water systems, and theoretically speaking, they would also have the potential for application in large stationary energy storage systems connected to renewable sources, where price and safety are more important than mass and energy,” Vujković points out. 

Contemporary world research

Modern world research is focused on the development of different types of batteries, based on different chemistry.

For the development of all types of batteries, it is important that they can be used in different applications, because each type of battery has certain advantages and disadvantages. Milica, on the other hand, points out that you never know in advance what can be discovered through research.

“For now, the market is mainly dominated by Lithium-ion batteries based on carbon as the anode, organic electrolyte containing lithium ions, and lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NMC) as the cathode.”

However, we are aware of the fact that lithium is a limited resource and that its reserves will not be able to meet the future needs of the galloping electric car industry,” she points out.

“I am convinced that the situation in that field will also change significantly.” As for our research, in the course of the project, in addition to the development of carbon and vanadium oxide, we also started the development of new types of cathodes for sodium ion batteries, based on sodium and iron.

Therefore, the further direction of our research, in addition to the improvement of the developed multivalent model, will also be focused on the development of the sodium ion system, with the aim of obtaining the best possible model not only in terms of energy, but also in terms of price and environmental acceptability.

Of course, I expect that this type of research will be recognized through future national and international calls to which we apply”, concludes Milica Vujković.

Serbian Belkalhan calcite & graphite mining developer invites JV partners for joint critical raw materials exploitation

Serbian based mining exploration company Belkalhan confirms calcite and graphite large deposits and unique quality as new European resource base for industry. Belkalhan announced that it has confirmed its deposits footprint after a positive step up drill exploration within its key prospect in South Serbia.

Belkalhan Serbia announced it has confirmed its calcite and graphite mine potentials for further investments with future Joint Venture partner. With prospect location advantages and confirmed unique quality of raw material and its quantity, Belkalhan calcite and graphite mine could become a major source for European industry critical raw materials supply.

Intersected Deposits of Calcite as calcium carbonate resource has 99,99% purity and 98% whitenesses in the deposit line of 15m thickness and 125m height, the length of 720m of confirmed deposit which indicates extremely rare deposit quantity and quality which makes it a unique world resource.

The limestone cover also has 98,5% purity and 94% whiteness which makes it an ideal resource for number of industrial technology production processes. With its premium quality and whiteness the calcite & limestone reserves are perfect for pharmaceutical, chemical and food industry among others.

Confirmed deposits of calcite as carbonate source are 5.550 million tons, with additional exploitation surface area potential.

During our exploration drilling we located the graphite deposit line of 300m length and with various depth of deposited quantities. Preliminary results indicate on the high quality and pureness. Additional 4 million tons are being expected to be confirmed in ongoing field exploration. New drills results are being expected and expectations are high for graphite quality and reserves.

Potential JV partnership and investment will enable Belkalhan to integrate downstream into the manufacturing of calcite and graphite products for a number of high-growth markets including lithium ion batteries/EVs, fuel cells, graphene and nanomaterials, thermal management in consumer electronics, smart building products and fire retardants. Calcite deposits with unique European quality makes the mine one of the most attractive in Europe.

More informations on project potentials at

Serbian underground mine of calcium carbonate and graphite, confirmed highest quality and reserves

Belkalhan calcite and graphite Serbian based mine location with secured all permits for exploitation and processing, secured expansion of prospect mining rights surface area, invites JV partners for investment development for exploitation of raw materials.

The Company owns the land where the reserves were confirmed, and has obtained the necessary licences to begin mining operations. The quality and availability of the material make this a unique production site in Europe.

• 1.3 million tons of calcite confirmed more including the limestone reserves. High end quality of graphite reserves also confirmed by verified independent laboratories.
• 25 years exploitation rights by 2040 with possibility of extension.
• High quality Calcite rock with 99.6% purity of calcium carbonate.
• 98% whiteness suitable for many industrial uses, including battery production.
• 65,000 tons annual exploitation rights of calcite rock.
• 6.63 ha exploitation field
• 8km distance of the mine from the processing plant.
• The underground mining project is located in southern Serbia, 260 km from Belgrade, and in proximity of main highways and railway.

The Company has prepared the technological process needed to process the calcium carbonate and graphite found in the underground mine, which will have as an end product, a powdered packaged substance, ready to use by industrial buyers.

More informations on this highly attractive opportunity at