The world needs new batteries

Who does not know that? If you use your electronic brain, i.e. your smartphone, intensively every day, you have to charge your smartphone every evening or otherwise feel like you were in the Stone Age. However, since our smartphones should and have to become more and more powerful at the same time, one should not be surprised that they fail so quickly. Nevertheless, it would be great if this annoying shop would finally come to an end. But after that it looks slow but sure.
This is borne out by this very good news from electrochemical research: the start-up SolidEnergy, spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) now seems to have solved the tiresome problem with the rapidly losing batteries based on lithium-ion technology.

Before I say a few words about the newly developed technology, I would like to explain briefly how such a battery works and what the problem is.

battery pack

Construction of a lithium-ion cell (source: Wikipedia)

The principle of operation of such batteries is based on the shift of lithium ions. For this purpose, the potential difference between lithium ions of a negatively charged electrode (often Li graphite is used) and a positively charged electrode (often lithium cobalt dioxide) is used. Lithium ions move back and forth between the two electrodes when charging or discharging in a non-aqueous carrier medium (the so-called electrolyte) and emit electrons that supply the device to be operated with energy.

SolidEnergy has optimized the “problem area” of today’s lithium-ion batteries: the anode made of lithium graphite. For this purpose, the researchers at the start-up developed a wafer-thin metal anode made of lithium-coated copper, which is much more compact and, at 1200 Wh / L, also has twice the capacity.


Differences to conventional anode design (source: Solid-Energy)

Together with improvements in the operating systems and new and more economical processors, such as the ARM Cortex-M0 , the suffering will hopefully soon come to an end.

Leave a Reply