New Battery Technology

The world is growing increasingly dependent on good batteries. It’s clear that using the new 5G spectrum drains cellphone batteries faster. Everybody has heard horror stories of lithium batteries from lawnmowers or weed eaters catching fire. Flying with lithium batters is a growing challenge. People with electric cars want better range without having to recharge. The best way to capture and use alternate forms of power is to store electricity in big batteries. The increasing demand for batteries is happening at the same time that trade wars for the raw materials used for batteries are heating up through tariffs and trade restrictions.

Luckily there is a huge amount of research underway to look for batteries that last longer, charge faster, and are made from more readily available minerals.

Zinc-manganese oxide batteries. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Northwest National Laboratory have developed a technology that can produce high-energy density batteries out of zinc and magnesium. These are readily available minerals that could be used to create low-cost storage batteries.

Scientists have experimented with Zinc-manganese batteries since the 1990s, but they could never find a way to allow batteries to be recharged more than a few times due to the deterioration of the manganese electrode. They have found a technique that reduces and even replenishes the electrode and have created batteries that can be recharged over 5,000 times. This technology creates the larger batteries used for electric storage in solar systems, vehicles, and power plants.

Organosilicon Electrolyte Batteries. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin were searching for an alternative to lithium batteries to avoid the danger of the electrolyte catching fire. Professors Robert Hamers and Robert West developed an organosilicon electrolyte material that can greatly reduce the possibility of fires when added to current Li-ion batteries. The electrolytes also add significantly to battery life.

Gold Nanowire Gel Electrolyte Batteries. Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, have been experimenting with gels as the main filler in batteries since gets are generally not as combustible as liquids. They had also been experimenting with using nanowires as the diode, but the tiny wires were too delicate and quickly wore out. They recently found that they could use gold nanowires covered with dioxide along with an electrolyte gel. This combination has resulted in a battery that can be recharged 200,000 times, compared to 6,000 times for most good batteries.

TankTwo String Cell Batteries.  One of the biggest problems with batteries is the length of time it takes to recharge. The company TankTwo has developed a technique to build batteries in tiny modular compartments. These are tiny cells with a plastic coating and a conductive outer coating that can self-arrange within the battery. At an electric car charging station, the tiny cells would be sucked out from the battery housing and replaced with fully charged cells – reducing the recharging process to only minutes. The charging station can recharge deleted cells at times when electricity is the cheapest.

NanoBolt Lithium Tungsten Batteries. Researchers at N1 Technologies have developed a battery structure that allows for greater energy storage and faster recharging. They have added tungsten and carbon nanotubes into lithium batteries that bond to a copper anode substrate to build up a web-like structure. This web forms a much greater surface area for charging and discharging electricity.

Toyota Solid-state Batteries. Toyota recently announced it is introducing a new solid-state lithium-iron-phosphate battery as a replacement for the lithium-ion batteries currently used for its electric vehicles. These batters are lighter, cost less, and recharge faster. Toyota claims a range of 621 miles per charge. They say the battery can be fully recharged in ten minutes. By comparison, the best Tesla battery is good for about half the distance and can take a half-charge in fifteen minutes.

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