In the era that we live in, there’s new technologies coming out every day. Actually, the tech world is advancing so fast that we can barely keep up with it. Or is it? Something that not many people know, is that technology could have been much more advanced by now, but there’s something missing in the world that keeps that from happening: battery innovation.
As a matter of fact, technologies for new batteries are in the works all the time, given the fact that it has become such a problem, but just a few get out of the lab and into the real world. Why is this happening? What does the future bring?
The Current Situation
The way things are evolving at the moment is incredibly slow. Of course, most people don’t realize that because they constantly see new technologies and gadgets popping up everywhere. But what these people don’t know, is that all of these products that are introduced on the markets on a regular basis are using old battery technology. The majority of these products still use the old-fashioned lithium-ion battery.
It’s not that there’s something wrong with this lithium-ion technology, as it has proven more than useful and served us well for the last decades. It’ just that the limitation that it has are definitely not benefiting the pace at which the technology industry has the ability to evolve nowadays.
Before talking about what the future holds for battery tech, let’s see what are the main current issues in this area. First of all, there are new solutions being developed all the time, but one of the main problems involves the time it takes to test them. Second of all, it is true that there are a lot of organizations that invest tons of money for new batteries development, but the process is so expensive, that even money has become an issue.
On another note, there are some solutions out there that could work out for mobile phones, for example. Using these technologies would make our phone battery last way longer, but it will also be much more expensive to buy one such phone. Do companies want to invest in products that cost a fortune to assemble, without being sure that enough people can afford them?
Not to scare you or anything, but the truth is that high-energy density batteries are pretty dangerous. Every major battery manufacturer from Sony to Duracell has blown up or completely burned a battery plant to the ground, often in a horrific high-temperature lithium fire. This kind of batteries are still not safe enough to come out into the world.
What’s in The Works?
It’s not that people are not trying to come up with a more sustainable battery technology; they actually tried to improve upon the lithium-ion type, but batteries are so complex, that barely any solution becomes reliable.
Here are just a few examples of upcoming battery technologies, that might be able to change the face of the industry in the near future:
- Solid state lithium-ion. In order for a solid state battery to offer stability, electrolyte transmissions must be involved. Tests have been done using sulfide superionic conductors, and if everything works out for the best, that means a superior battery that we can use for major technological advancements.
- Graphene Batteries. If we talk about traditional batteries, you can either get high charging speeds or high capacity. But in order to get what we need today, we’d very much like to have both. Researchers at Samsung have already taken the first steps towards achieving this, by using graphene.
- Foam Batteries. Another company that might crack the code is Prieto Battery. Their approach involves using a copper foam substrate. If this approach works out, it means that the world could have safer (non-flammable), faster charging and longer living batteries.
Despite all the effort that is being put into developing new battery technologies, they’re currently the same as they were in the 1980s. Big companies all over the world invest a ton of money in order to be able to finally come out with the solution for this global problem. As of right now, we’ll settle for what we have, but when a new battery technology will be available (and it will be one day), things will start to advance at an incredibly rapid pace and many industries will flourish tremendously.