We love our phones, but we hate their battery life. It’s a tale we’ve been telling for years now, patiently waiting for scientists to figure out a way for us to not have to constantly worry about our phones dying.
Now, a grad student in California may have found a way to do it while sitting on the beach during a day of surfing.
A new study in “Scientific Reports” found that sand found in beaches is a fantastic source of silicon for lithium-ion batteries.
According to Popular Science, Zachary Favours of UC Riverside was enjoying a day of surfing and hanging out on the beach when he had an epiphany. He looked at the sand around him and hatched a theory that could change our cell phones forever.
A crucial part of lithium-ion batteries is graphite, but silicon has been said to potentially be a much better way to store energy. But silicon is both hard to mass-produce, and degrades quickly.
Favours may have found a solution to these problems with beach sand. In his study, Favours gathered a sample of sand from Cedar Creek Reservoir in Texas where it’s very high in quartz (silicon dioxide). He then ground it down and purified it before heating it up with magnesium and salt.
The result was purely silicon, and had a consistency, according to Gizmag, that was very porous, which is one of the major keys to improving lithium-ion batteries.
They have already developed the prototype battery and say it has the potential to keep a mobile phone charged three times as long as it is now. They have also filed patents for the technology.
Time will tell if the Apples and the Samsungs of the world will work to adopt this technology in their own devices. If they do, and it works, it has the potential to revolutionise the industry.