Researchers at Stanford University in the US have created a new aluminium battery that charges smartphones to full capacity in one minute. Scientists say the technology could one day replace many of the batteries used in devices today, according to a media release.
The findings were detailed in an online edition of the journal Nature, published on April 6.
The aluminium-ion battery is a safer alternative to the lithium-ion batteries currently used in laptops and smartphones, which can be a fire hazard. The new prototype is also better for the environment than disposable alkaline batteries, like the ones you find in TV remotes.
The prototype was developed by Stanford University chemistry Professor Hongjie Dai along with student colleagues.
“We have developed a rechargeable aluminium battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames. Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it,” Dai said in a statement.
The team’s new battery can keep going for around 7,500 charges, while previous experimental aluminium batteries lasted only 100 charge cycles. A typical lithium-ion battery lasts around 1,000 charge cycles, according to researchers.
Aluminium is an appealing material for batteries because it’s affordable, doesn’t catch fire too easily, and has a high-charge capacity. The challenge, until now, has been “finding materials capable of producing sufficient voltage after repeated cycles of charging and discharging,” researchers note.
The new battery consists of a negatively charged aluminium anode and a positively charged graphite cathode.
The battery is not only long-lasting, but it can also bend, greatly widening its potential use in electronic devices.
Researchers still have to work on improving the voltage of the aluminium battery. Right now, it only produces about half the voltage of a typical lithium battery.