The battery is dead, long live the battery!
Smartphones with high-speed Internet, garments with integrated sensors and LEDs, shoes that tie their laces automatically and even dresses you can fly with. We wrote a lot about FashionTech, but who runs all of these innovative garments? Batteries of course! But what’s happening in the world of our little energy-storing friends? We all know that it’s super annoying when we have to charge the batteries of our smartphones every 3 hours, and still, there’s not much happening to solve this problem. A tie with solar cells is definitely not the solution; imagine desperately trying to bring your smartphone back to life, while standing somewhere in the outskirts during winter. The processors are getting stronger, the LCD display brings you brighter colours, apps are getting bigger and their performance levels rise. But the battery-lives continue to stagnate.
But there’s a group of researchers that declared war to the traditional lithium-ion battery. At the Swineburn University of Technology, researchers have developed a new type of battery that makes our old-fashioned batteries look like cavemen.
This new battery’s secret is called graphene – an ultra-thin layer of carbon. As it is only one atom thick, even a small space can be filled with layers over layers, each giving their own surface to pack some electrodes in. Graphene is actually THE material of the future. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, lighter than a feather, biodegradable and biocompatible (which means you could potentially have it in your body). You can desalinate seawater with it, and it’s highly electrically capacitive, making it the reason why we can use it for batteries and super computers. Batteries made of graphene are really fast to recharge, because other than with our current batteries they don’t need chemical reactions. Just plug it in and it’s fully loaded in seconds. Also, as it’s so fine, it will make Laptops and Smartphones even thinner than they already are today, and of course, it becomes quite useful for wearables. Nobody wants to carry a heavy battery in his jumper or jacket, and definitely not one that has to be charged every five minutes.