Economy, Sci & Tech

Breakthrough Gives Batteries Longer Life

Breakthrough Gives Batteries Longer Life
Breakthrough Gives Batteries Longer Life

In a complete accident, while working to find a solid-state replacement for lithium, researchers at University of California Irvine inadvertently stumbled upon a breakthrough that could change how future batteries are constructed.

Researchers replaced the lithium with gold nanowire coated in manganese dioxide and set in electrolyte gel. Again, the idea was to replace the liquid inside common lithium batteries, as they’re extremely combustible and sensitive to temperature.

What they found was that the gel interacts with the metal oxide coating to create a protective sheath around the nanowire, effectively eliminating corrosion.

The team cycled the “battery” through 200,000 recharges over a three-month period and noted that it lost just 5% of its capacity.

According to Popular Science, the technology could lead to consumer batteries that last 400 times longer than today’s batteries.

One of the hurdles the technology currently faces is cost. Even the tiny amount of gold used in the test platform was expensive and would drive up the cost of manufacturing.

Reginald Penner, the lead author of the study, suggests that a more common metal such as nickel may be able to replace the gold should the technology catch on.