One of the most important technology development fields at the moment is power storage. Batteries and their derivatives are currently the only way we can store electricity once it’s been generated. However, they have many drawbacks, most notably that in reality they don’t hold much of a charge.
While researchers at the University of Leeds havn’t managed to increase storage capacity, they do believe they’ve managed to alleviate some of the other problems associated with traditional Lithium-Ion batteries: the fact that if overheated they could explode or combust and that they’re quite heavy.
Current Li-Ion batteries use a liquid based electrolyte, these new ones utilise a jelly version of that substance. This would prevent leakage in the event of damage to the battery casing, as well as allowing for lighter ones to be built. Apparently they’d also be able to avoid the overheating problem that some manufacturers had with their batteries.
“Safety is of paramount importance in lithium batteries. Conventional lithium batteries use electrolytes based on organic liquids; this is what you see burning in pictures of lithium batteries that catch fire. Replacing liquid electrolytes by a polymer or gel electrolyte should improve safety and lead to an all-solid-state cell,” said Professor Peter Bruce from the University of St Andrews, another group involved in the study.
No word on an expected application date for this new technology, but if the claims are true, expect electric vehicles to begin using them within the next couple of years.