Some young, bright scientists at Stanford University have just developed an aluminum battery that could enable one’s cell phone to go from empty to full charge in just one minute. It is also long-lasting, relatively inexpensive, and safer than the batteries that are currently on the market for charging one’s cell phone. Current emergency cell phone charges use either lithium-ion or alkaline batteries which are really not the best as Hongjie Dai explains below:
“We have developed a rechargeable aluminum 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,” said professor of chemistry, Hongjie Dai, in a report just released by Stanford University.
The new aluminum-ion battery is something researchers have been pursuing because the material can be acquired cheaply, is not prone to bursting into flames, and is capable of storing more power than the current batteries. However, the challenge has been finding a suitable material for the cathode, one that will permit it to produce sufficient voltage after repeated cycles.
“People have tried different kinds of materials for the cathode,” Dai said. “We accidentally discovered that a simple solution is to use graphite, which is basically carbon. In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance.”
By combining the aluminum anode and graphite cathode with an ionic liquid electrolyte in a flexible polymer-coated pouch, the researchers found a solution that is incredibly safe with very little possibility of it bursting into flames. Now, while safety is important, how fast it is able to charge a cell phone is also a critical factor. As mentioned before, instead of hours, the new aluminum-ion battery can charge a cell phone in one minute and the battery itself can also be charged in just a few minutes. Furthermore, the new aluminum-ion battery can do this for over 7,500 cycles while the current lithium-ion batteries only last around 1,000 cycles.
This is all really good news for everyone with power-hungry cell phones and other devices, but I also believe that it could be used in electric vehicles as well. Safer, longer-lasting, and faster charging batteries are just what electric vehicles need.