Batteries are such a huge part of our daily lives that most of us don’t think about them anymore. They power our phones, our computers, our headphones, our watches, even our cars. But most batteries burn out quickly and take a long time to recharge.
Can you imagine a battery that lasted for days or even months and could recharge an unlimited number of times and in seconds? That’s exactly what scientists are trying to create with their innovative battery research. Read on to learn what’s on the horizon for battery technology.
Twist and Shout
Can you imagine a battery that can be recharged in a few seconds or less? Scientists at Cornell University can, and they’re working on making it a reality. The key comes in merging the cathodes and anodes of traditional batteries into one spiraling shape that’s much more energy-dense.
This battery is packed with an anode structure filled with tiny pores that each serve as tiny individual batteries. This allows them to recharge in much less time than a traditional battery. To visualize how this works, imagine the time it would take to fill up sixteen shot glasses versus the time it would take to fill an entire bottle of whiskey.
Some of us have always known that the beach holds the answers to all of life’s problems. Scientists are starting to figure it out now, too, with the new research into silicon-based batteries. Silicone can provide up to three times as much battery life as current lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries.
Researchers at the University of California Riverside have been working on nano-silicone for a while, but it’s always degraded too quickly. But by using sand, which is in large part silicone, researchers can create a porous three-dimensional shape comprised of pure silicone. The great thing is this technology can be dropped into current li-ion manufacturing processes, meaning it may be on shelves very soon.
Walk It Out
People have long understood that one of the greatest sources of renewable energy on this planet is… us. As your Apple Watch or FitBit tells you every day, humans generate (and use) a great deal of energy every day by walking around. Now imagine if that kinetic energy could charge your smartphone, too.
Scientists at the University of Surrey are working on making that dream a reality. They’re investigating how to put energy-capturing devices into wearable items, such as shoes. With each step you took, a small cushion would depress, two materials would make contact, an electrical impulse would be generated, and that impulse would get stored in a battery.
Go for Gold
Gold has been valued for many years for the fact that it’s shiny and it doesn’t oxidize. Now it can give us the most powerful resource of all: batteries that never die. The University of California Irvine has created nanowire batteries that can recharge an infinite number of times.
Batteries that can be recharged forever may not sound like the same thing as batteries that never die. But think about your phone battery; the average smartphone battery can withstand about 1,000 recharge cycles. That means if you recharge your phone twice a day, you’ve got a little less than two years with that battery.
These gold nanowire batteries can stand up to infinite recharge cycles. They are a thousand times thinner than a human hair and are coated in a gel electrolyte to prevent degradation. This tool may save you thousands of new phone purchases in the future.
Make a Solid Plan
Solid-state batteries are one of the most exciting advances when it comes to electric cars. Solid-state batteries work much like current li-ion batteries, but in place of electrodes or liquid electrolytes, they have ceramic or glass. This material can withstand higher temperatures, which means a higher charge capacity.
Solid-state batteries offer two solid benefits to the electric vehicle industry. First of all, they’re less flammable than li-ion batteries, making them safer. For another, because they can withstand higher temperatures, they can charge much faster; an electric vehicle with a solid-state battery could charge in as little as seven minutes.
Sketch It Out
You’ve probably heard some about graphene, everyone’s new favorite carbon structure. This substance is the only truly two-dimensional form of carbon, as it is only one layer of atoms thick and exceptionally strong. Its thinness, strength, flexibility, and conductivity has made it an ideal material for ultra-small computers, improved solar panels, and now batteries.
Graphene can conduct electricity 1,000 times faster than copper. This allows graphene batteries to charge much more quickly and to put out the enormous amounts of power that things like electric vehicles require. An electric car with a graphene battery could have a driving range of up to 500 miles.
Carve the Foam
Batteries today have two main problems: the electrodes or liquid electrolytes they use are flammable, limiting the amount of power that can safely pass through them at any given time. And the current storage system for these batteries isn’t very efficient.
Foam batteries solve both of those problems; these batteries use a copper foam substrate that isn’t flammable. They are also five times denser in terms of storage than current batteries. This means faster charging times, longer battery life, and cheaper manufacturing.
Discover More Innovative Battery Ideas
Batteries have become so integral to our lives that improving them is likely to be one of the most important technological leaps of this century. Better batteries mean more environmentally friendly cars, more efficient computers, and, someday, batteries powerful enough to enable space travel. It’s all down to creating innovative battery ideas that make better use of their materials.
If you’d like to learn more about what’s on the cutting edge of battery technology, check out the rest of our site at BSLBATT. At BSLBATT, our processes, technology, and products improve every day. Check out our innovative products and take the next step forward in energy today.
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