Friday, April 27, 2012

The Future of the Battery

The more we depend on mobile devices the more we rely upon one small technology. Batteries. Have you ever reached for your smartphone to look something up or to get directions and found that it has died? Well, in a few years, that may be something you don’t have to worry about.

A Better Battery on the Way?

Engineers at Chicago’s Northwestern University have been working on advancements in battery technology and may have discovered a way to make batteries charge in minutes and last significantly longer.

According to the article, Northwestern's researchers have found a means to extend the charge-life of a new lithium-ion battery by a factor of 10. Even after 150 charges—which researchers say represents a year or more of operation—this new battery would still be five times more efficient than the today’s lithium-ion batteries.

A Charged Battery for a Week


Here's the bottom line: The new cell phone battery could stay charged for more than a week and then recharge itself in just 15 minutes. This is best part about it for you: It could mean that your iPod won't run out of juice while you are working the treadmill at the gym. But the new, better battery might have a far greater impact: Based on the Northwestern story, this new battery technology could result in smaller and more powerful batteries for electric cars. This may help the United States—and other countries—cut its reliance upon fossil fuels.

Batteries Powering Technological Change

The new battery technology isn't available yet for consumers, but the Northwestern researchers say that it could hit the market in 3 to 5 years. This is a big step. When we look at advancements in technology, we often forget about the batteries that power our latest gadgets. Battery constraints are one of the factors holding back an even greater technology revolution. The hope is that the research done at Northwestern University can change this.

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