Smartphone Batteries with Twice the Capacity
SolidEnergy is a start-up company that specializes in the research and development of rechargeable battery technology. Their main target is the development of batteries powering E-Vehicles. While they are on their way towards that, the company has potentially solved the short life span of lithium-ion batteries by using metal electrodes.
Using a lithium-metal for a battery’s electrode is not a novel idea: battery makers have always known the advantages of greater ion-storage capacity of metal electrodes. However, the production of safe and fully-functional batteries with such a structure has, so far, been unsuccessful. Attempts at using metal electrodes have led to batteries that can only last a few charge cycles before giving out, while some burst into flames.
Current lithium-ion batteries are built with a graphite-based electrode, which SolidEnergy is replacing with a thin sheet of Lithium-metal foil. This material is claimed to have an energy density of 1,200 W-hr/L as opposed to the current tech’s 600 W-hr/L. The success of their technology will therefore allow twice the power storage capacity for the same physical size, or a smaller battery for the same capacity. This feature has also been boasted in Elegus Technologies’ spin on safer batteries with Kevlar material.
Replacing the electrode of the battery is only the first part of the development. Conventionally, liquid electrolytes are used to transport ions through electrodes. These tend to react with the electrode material which form compounds that restrict electricity flow. The perceptible effect of this is the degradation of the characteristic battery life on a full charge.
Another effect is the development of tendrils/dendrites that poke through large-enough holes in the electrode. These can cause a short circuit of a battery, leading to battery fires.
SolidEnergy’s approach is to replace the fully-liquid electrolyte with a solid and liquid combination. Solid electrolytes are applied on the lithium-metal; these are effective in preventing short circuits, but they also slow down the ion movement in the battery. Their design includes an additional non-flammable liquid electrolyte that will maintain the efficient ion conduction. The liquid has also been developed to mitigate the reaction that leads to the generation of dendrites, ensuring the battery’s safety.
This approach also surpasses previous studies because the batteries are able to function at room temperature, while others require impractically high temperatures of operation.
Where SolidEnergy is leading
There have been other companies that are working toward the same goal, but SolidEnergy seems to be more promising than others. According to MIT reports, SolidEnergy’s technology doesn’t require new battery manufacturing equipment, which makes it more feasible to be prepared for the market.
SolidEnergy claims their battery is able to last 300 charge cycles while retaining 80% of its storage capacity. The start-up company aims to find a partner battery manufacturer to mass produce their batteries. Of course, as it is with all emerging technology, especially on this level of development, there is a challenge of being able to reproduce the batteries in bulk while maintaining the consistent high quality and performance of each one.
They have been in talks with Apple and Google about utilizing their technology in smartphones, and it seems they will most likely be seen participating in Google’s Project Ara.https://gizbeat.com/6423/smartphone-batteries-with-twice-the-capacity/https://gizbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/solidenergy-logo.jpghttps://gizbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/solidenergy-logo-150x111.jpgRecentTechSolidEnergy is a start-up company that specializes in the research and development of rechargeable battery technology. Their main target is the development of batteries powering E-Vehicles. While they are on their way towards that, the company has potentially solved the short life span of lithium-ion batteries by using metal...Nicky ArriolaNicky Arriola[email protected]EditorNicky is a full-time student and full-time lab worker. Her passion is anything to do with gadgets or tech and has high hopes to get all roads in the world paved with solar LED panels.GizBeat