For years, battery designers have been looking for the next big thing in energy storage technology that could replace the lithium-ion batteries currently found in everything from laptops to smartphones to cars. It turns out they may have simply needed to rethink the existing li-ion battery. Northwestern University researchers have re-engineered a lithium-ion battery that can hold ten times the charge of current batteries on the market, and can charge ten times faster.
Today in cleverly designed solutions to old problems: University of Bristol engineers have devised a “hundred-year battery” that could report the state of buried nuclear waste repositories wirelessly to the surface 100 years after it--and the sensors connected to it--is buried, sealed, and cemented into the ground.
Batteries are the bane of all portable electronics. Bigger, heavier batteries make devices less portable, while smaller batteries lead to low performance or short battery life – or both. But while Stanford’s new lithium-ion batteries don’t necessarily cut down on footprint, they certainly cut down on mass; the new ultra-thin, rechargeable battery has been fabricated on a single sheet of paper, making it super-light, flexible, and as portable as a piece of A4.
Wouldn't it be convenient if Red Bull could recharge your phone just as it recharges you? Researchers at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society today revealed the creation of a new breed of battery-like device that's more like the mitochondria that fuel biological cells than the anode-cathode batteries that charge our devices. As such, it could power our cell phones or other portable electronics with sugary drinks or other energy-storing media like vegetable oils.
If you've got an electronic device, you need power either in the form of a cable or a battery. If you've got a battery, you still need a means of charging it. And if you're in the military, you know that you never have exactly what you need exactly when you need it. Which is why South Korean battery makers have created the MetalCell, a magnesium battery based on 2,000-year-old technology that can be charged with saltwater or, barring that, urine.
Wind and solar are such promising technologies for the hydrocarbon-free energy sources of tomorrow, but intermittent, inconsistent output renders them unfeasible as anything other than secondary power sources. But UK firm Isentropic thinks it may have solved the problem as it pertains to wind power; all we need to stabilize the energy flow from turbines are giant batteries made out of gravel.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.