Researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) have been awarded a two-year $5.1m grant by the US government to develop a radically improved battery.
The team at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering are working on ultra-high-energy metal-air batteries that will be able to store more than 10 times the current of traditional lithium-ion technology.
“This has the potential to dramatically decrease the cost of energy storage,” said Cody Friesen, an associate professor at the school.
“An electric vehicle powered by these types of batteries would have a distance range comparable to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle. A cell phone could remain powered for as long as a month without recharging.”
Traditional metal-air batteries use water as the conductive fluid, but this causes problems with evaporation, which shortens the life of the battery drastically. The ionic fluid being used by the ASU team does not evaporate, which means the batteries have huge commercial potential.
Battery technology is still one of the biggest hurdles in mobile computing. Manufacturers using multi-cell lithium-ion batteries have managed to extend laptop life to around seven hours but new technology is needed to make computers truly mobile.
“We need to come up with new, imaginative and elegant ways of generating energy, and smarter ways of consuming that energy so we are not depleting resources and harming our environment,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, ASU’s deputy vice president for research and economic affairs.
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