As power requirements of mobile devices continue to soar, battery life has declined dramatically when compared with the cell phones of 5 to 10 years ago which could often go 2 to 3 days or longer on a single charge. Today, only two smartphones offer talk time of over 15 hours – the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx at 19.78 hours, and the unlocked LG Optimus Vu at 16.08 hours. Let’s look at a couple technologies which could dramatically improve battery-life for a wide range of mobile devices, computers and consumer electronics products.
Nature: Chemistry reported in June that “Lithium-air batteries have the potential to be the next big leap in battery technology because they get rid of a lot of weight and complexity involved” with current lithium ion batteries. Previous attempts to build lithium-air batteries have failed because the batteries reacted chemically with air and decayed rapidly. Researchers have discovered a stable electrolyte that won’t react with air and works well at room temperatures. “At a high discharge rate, researchers figure that it can handle up to 13,500 Watt-hours/kilogram of electrode. Current Lithium ion technology can handle 150 Watt-hours/kilogram of electrode. This would place the battery at 10 times the capacity of current Lithium-ion batteries.”
Improving Lithium Ion Batteries with Silicon
“Current Lithium ion batteries use anodes made of grapheme, which allow one lithium atom per six carbon atoms. Silicon, which allows four lithium ions per one silicon atom, is considered better for building batteries, but silicon tends to expand and contract significantly during charging, which causes the battery to fragment,” reports PC Magazine. Harold H. Kung’s team from Northwestern University sandwiched clusters of silicon between grapheme sheets in order to reduce or eliminate battery fragmentation. Professor Kung’s team also “created 10 to 20 nm holes in the sheets to accelerate recharging by as much as 10 times. The team hopes to develop an electrolyte that can be turned off at high temperatures to prevent fires or explosions”, then turned back on as the battery cools.
Current Products with Best Battery-Life
Looking at real-world battery life, best-in-class battery life ranged from nearly 20 hours for the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx cellphone to 6.49 hours for the HP Folio 13 ultrabook.
|Category||Product||Real Life Battery-Life (in hours)|
|Cell Phone||Motorola Droid Razr Maxx||19.78|
|Ultrabooks||HP Folio 13||6.49|
|Laptops||HP Envy 17||8.00|
|Tablets||Apple iPad 2||14.20|
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