University of Akron researchers have built a prototype lithium ion battery they claim could last 30% to 50% longer than any battery on the market. Lead researcher on the project Dr. Yu Zhu explains that the improvements come from the materials that bind the electrodes together. In conventional batteries where polymer binding material is used, the cells only last for 10 to 20 cycles. With the new prototype, the battery can cycle for thousands of cycles without depleting in capacity. The technology used in Zhu's project is a groundbreaking development given that little has changed in li-ion technology for the past three decades.
The developers hope to scale up their prototype, which now is the size of a coin, so that it can be used in smartphones and larger applications. The Akron battery could hit the market in as little as two years, but the market will not be short of competitors.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research are working on a li-ion battery that could double current storage capacity and lower the weight of the battery. At the Northwestern University, in collaboration with Argonne National Labs, researchers are hoping for a breakthrough on a rechargeable battery, which may can extend cellphone battery life by a factor of eight. The efficiency improvements in battery technologies will also see a proliferation of large scale storage facilities such as the ones Tesla has unveiled in Australia and Puerto Rico.