A team of researchers in France has taken a major step towards powering our devices with rechargeable batteries based on an element that is far more abundant and cheaper than lithium. For the first time ever, a battery has been developed using sodium ions in the industry standard "18650" format used in laptop batteries, LED flashlights and the Tesla Model S, among other products.
With theoretical energy densities as much as 10 times that of current lithium-ion batteries, lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries hold tremendous potential for storage of renewable energy and use in mobile devices and electric cars. Although a practical lithium-air battery is still some years from becoming a commercial reality, researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a working laboratory demonstrator that shows how many of the problems holding back the development of lithium-air batteries could be overcome.
As energy production moves towards solar and wind-powered alternatives, battery systems to store intermittently-produced electricity have never been more important. Unfortunately, many of the materials needed to make high-performance batteries for this purpose are rapidly diminishing and becoming increasingly expensive as a result. Now researchers have created a new type of storage battery that is made from a range of cheap and abundant materials and shows promise for high-efficiency performance.
As electric cars come towards the end of their life, they create a set of problems that you simply don't get with petrol cars - namely, getting rid of the batteries. Automotive giant Daimler is doing its bit to tackle the problem by partnering with The Mobility House, GETEC and Remondis to create a 13-MWh battery storage unit out of second-life battery systems from electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
The number of electric vehicles and mobile devices is expected to surge over the coming decade, which would place considerable strain on our environment and resources as far as battery technology currently stands. In an effort to find more sustainable alternatives for battery materials, researchers from the University of California, Riverside have created a battery incorporating the skins of portabella mushrooms. The move not only has the potential to reduce the economic and environmental cost of battery production, but may also result in batteries whose capacity increases over time.
While we've previously seen a number of GoPro accessories
which can keep you shooting when the battery runs out, the PolarPro
PowerGrip H2O is the first we've come across capable of live-charging
the action camera while underwater. Currently looking for funding on
Kickstarter, the PowerGrip H2O is a waterproof selfie stick with an
integrated battery, which can charge a camera at depths of up to 30 m
Researchers at MIT and Tsinghua University in China have found a way to more than triple the capacity of the anodes, or negative electrodes, of lithium-ion batteries while also extending their lifetime and potentially allowing for faster battery charging and discharging. The new electrode, which makes use of aluminum/titanium "yolk-and-shell" nanoparticles, is reportedly simple to manufacture and is especially promising for high-power applications.
Researchers have created printable solid-state batteries that can be printed in any conceivable shape and can be seamlessly embedded into a variety of surfaces. To demonstrate the technology, the scientists printed a working heart-shaped battery onto a cup, another onto a paper eyeglass and even one in the form of the letters "PRISS", all of which were capable of powering LEDs.
There are already plenty of external back-up batteries for smartphones,
although they won't do you much good if they've lost their charge by the
time you finally need them. That's where the Nipper comes in. It
provides some extra juice to your phone via two easily-obtained AA
batteries, and is much smaller than most other AA-powered chargers we've
A photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) is a special type of solar cell that gathers the Sun's energy and transforms it into either electricity or chemical energy used to split water and produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells. In an advance that could help this clean energy source play a stronger role within the smart grid, researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have found a way to store the electricity generated by a PEC cell for extended periods of time and allow electricity to be delivered around the clock.