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New Energy Behind Longer-Lasting Batteries

University of Akron
Researchers are using new binding to improve battery life.

Ohio researchers are developing a new battery that can last longer between charges, coming as welcome news to iPhone users who recently learned Apple is slowing down older phones to preserve battery life.

Research is underway at the University of Akron where Dr. Yu Zhu has a prototype he and his assistants are testing. He says it lasts thirty to fifty percent longer than the best lithium ion battery on the market. That’s the kind of battery used in the iPhone and lots of other electronic devices. Zhu says the improvement comes in the material that binds the electrodes together.

“Usually, if we use the conventional polymer binding material, those cells only last for 10-20 cycles. And with the new type of binding material we can actually cycle, those batteries for several hundred to even a thousand times with very limited capacity fading,” he says.

Credit University of Akron
Dr. Yu Zhu is testing a small battery now but says the concept will eventually work in UAV batteries for NASA and the Air Force.

Zhu’s team is developing these advanced materials with money from the Ohio Federal Research Network. He says lithium batteries have been around for a long time, but in thirty years the materials used have hardly changed. He’s testing a coin-size battery with the new binding.

“We are building larger cells which can be used in cell phones and in a pack size maybe in some application for NASA and Air Force and we hopefully have those products sometime in the future.”

Zhu says they see battery applications for unmanned aerial vehicles and eventually for personal vehicles. “For example, they can be used for ten hours, rather an twenty minutes.”

The University of Akron’s battery may be on the market in a couple of years, but others are making batteries too.

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research say they’ve come up with a way to nearly double the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries with new light-weight materials and high-storage capacity.

Science Daily reports researchers at Northwestern University and Argonne National Labs are trying to create a rechargeable battery that can possibly make your cell phone battery last eight times longer.