Cars and mobile devices are among our most beloved pieces of technology. President Obama refused to give up his BlackBerry when he entered office, and many people hang on to their favorite ride with a similar sort of passion. With all the love floating around, it should come as no surprise that battery research to power these devices is ongoing, with possible breakthroughs looming just around the corner.
Design engineers may be incorporating new battery technologies into products that double current battery performance in just a few years, according to researchers.
The first contender we’ll examine comes from a company called Seeo. The researchers at Seeo are busy at work developing lithium ion batteries that replace the liquid electrolyte currently used with a dry polymer electrolyte. Seeo hopes its battery will outperform current generation of batteries because it’s not flammable and is able to perform longer even under high temperatures. This could lead to new batteries for electric cars with a life of nearly 200,000 miles.
Our next potential innovation comes from Sakti3. Working with machinery that was previously used to manufacture potato chip bags, Sakti3 is developing rechargeable battery cells with a solid-state electrolyte. The company believes it can double the output of existing lithium ion batteries, and hopes to have working prototypes later this year.
“We believe we’ll double energy density, collectively as a community in the next few years and that is what we are targeting at Sakti3,” says Anne Marie Sastry, company founder and CEO. “The reason we are targeting energy density that is 2x is because to do anything less is not really enabling anything else.”
Finally, refining technology first developed at Stanford University, QuantumScape is attempting to create batteries with the density of fossil fuels. The company is working with a new method for stacking trace amounts of materials together. The theory is that this can lead to higher energy and power densities, along with a longer battery life than lithium ion batteries.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy:
“This novel battery stores energy by moving electrons, rather than ions, and uses electron/hole redox instead of capacitive polarization of a double-layer. This technology uses a novel architecture that has potential for very high energy density because it decouples the two functions of capacitors: charge separation and breakdown strength. If successful, this project will develop a completely new paradigm in energy storage for electric vehicles that could revolutionize the electric vehicle industry.”
Advances in battery technology could allow engineers to design smaller consumer electronics, or even create new battery-powered products that aren’t feasible now. And of course, better batteries could be the boost electric cars need to go mainstream.
Below you’ll find an interesting video about Sakti3.