Researchers bring us one step closer to the ‘ultimate battery’

by: Rob TriggsNovember 13, 2015
1.6K

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A research breakthrough in lithium-oxygen battery development could now make the ‘ultimate battery’ a possibility, as a number of barriers to development appear to have been overcome.

Lithium-oxygen (Li-air) has been hailed as the base for the ‘ultimate battery’ due to its energy density benefits over current lithium-ion cells. Lithium-oxygen can offer ten times the theoretical energy density of current batteries, which would enable smaller, cheaper and longer lasting cells for gadgets or battery powered vehicles. The huge potential benefits with Li-air had been thought to be out of reach, but researchers appear to be getting closer to a viable solution.

Battery capacity expectations

Source: IDTechEX

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated a new lithium-oxygen cell that is 90 percent more efficient and more stable than previous attempts, and can be recharged more than 2000 times. However, as with all these emerging battery technologies, there are a number of obstacles to overcome before we see anything close to a viable product.

As we are probably all too aware, battery technology has failed to keep pace with processors and other energy sapping components found in our gadgets, resulting in decreased use time. So we could use an alternative. Post-lithium batteries are also seen as important in the growing automotive and green energy storage industries, where large and therefore more expensive lithium-ion batteries are seeing increased demand. If lithium demand from these sectors grows as expected, a strain on supply could make existing battery technology more expensive, leading to a drive for alternatives.

Lithium-air batteries have become popular in research fields over the past decade, catching up with the likes of Sodium or Li-Sulphur. Other promising areas of research include Silicon Anode technologies, Lithium Capacitors and Solid-State batteries, but there are still compromises and technical issues left to overcome.

ZTE Blade S6 Plus aa battery

Ten times the battery capacity would be a major boost for smartphones, but would also be beneficial for the electric vehicle and green energy storage industries.

The difference between a lithium-oxygen and lithium-ion battery lies in the battery’s electrode. Rather than graphite, the researchers have developed their electrode using graphene, which you have probably heard talked about a lot before. The graphene is highly porous and is combined with lithium iodide to lower the voltage gap between charge and discharge to just 0.2 volts, making the battery more efficiency than previous implementations, which had a gap anywhere between 0.5 and 1 volt.

“While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done, to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting – we are still very much at the development stage, but we’ve shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology,” – Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry

However, like some previous enhanced capacity battery research that we have seen, there’s a problem with lithium metal fibres, known as dendrites, which can form on the metal electrode, eventually leading to a short-circuit within the battery and possible explosions! The researchers are yet to find a way to protect the metal electrode from the dioxide, nitrogen and moisture in the air around the battery.

Unfortunately, this means that the team expects that we are still at least a decade away from seeing a truly practical design, but at least the technology now seems feasible. Unfortunately, our smartphones won’t be lasting all week on a single charge just yet.

  • Arman

    Really good news!

    • Android Developer

      Too bad that like all battery related news, it would takes ages till we see this in action… :(

      • Hotbod Handsomeface

        Fact.

      • Arman

        Patience is a virtue ;)

      • retrospooty

        Exactly. I cant even begin to count how many times I have heard this in the past 15 years. Call me when it’s ready for economically viable product placement… Until then stop teasing us.

  • Tony G.

    So phone manufacturers can stop pushing quick chargers to compensate for lame batteries?

    • Hans Pedersen

      That is the weirdest whine of the day.

      • Tony G.

        And “Hans” is the sorriest of names. Didn’t your mother teach you that others have opinions too?

        • Hans Pedersen

          New accounts at the trolling HQ at Apple? Your “rhetoric”, or lack thereof, is at least the same as the previous ones.

          • Tony G.

            Why post if you are ignorant to others comments? I never understand people like you. I commented on the article. Others will have opinions that differ from yours.

          • Hans Pedersen

            If you want the right to share your “opinion” in a comment section, you’ve also agreed to let others tell you why you should learn stuff before you do that.

          • Tony G.

            What did I say that offended you?

          • mobilemann

            what exactly was incorrect or should he have learned about batteries being terrible in general? It was an OS agnostic complaint, You’re such a troll that you just auto expect it to happen, and the worst part? You know dick about what YOU talk about the majority of the time, unlike this random dude you trolled, because you’re paranoid you made bad technology choices.

            (tony i’ve had the displeasure of talking with this idiot before, and this is a repeating pattern, and he knows nothing about the products he dislikes, i’m not just blasting him out of thin air)

            You’re terrible Hans.

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            If you don’t want your ridiculous whining called out, don’t post in a public forum.

            #HashtagTonyG.Doesn’tGetIt

          • mobilemann

            him thinking the current state of batteries is lame makes him whine? Your post about him is pretty much the same thing.

            #but_you_don’t_get_it_because_youre_a_fucking_joke

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            #HashtagTryUsingHashtagsCorrectlyBeforeHashtaggingCoolGuy

          • mobilemann

            yeah, anyone who thinks differently than you is trolling for apple. You think i’m trolling for apple myself, when i own more android devices in my office than you’ve seen in your life.

            Try to not be pathetic for like 10 min. See if it sorts you out.

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            #HashtagHowPatheticDoesOneHaveToBeToHaveSoManyAndroidDevicesInHisOffice

            #HashtagGetRealLifeFriendsForAChange

            #HashtagClosetAppleFanboy

          • mobilemann

            #iguessyougetmorefriendswhenyouusehashtags #teachmehowtobecoollikeyou #imtheonlyoneherewhosupportshimself_withmobiledevices_youfanchild

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            #HashtagLOL

            #HashtagYourLifeMustBeAmazing

            #HashtagThisGuyMobilemannIsTheFvkkenManRightHere

        • Hotbod Handsomeface

          I was taught others would have worthwhile opinions, not that Tony G. would come on the internet and bish about how he has to plug his battery operated device in to charge it.

          “Why doesn’t my battery have unlimited power?” -Tony G.

          #HashtagGoCrySomewhereElseYouBigFvkkenBaby

          • mobilemann

            i was taught to react normally to things when I don’t comprehend them the same, not freak out with hashtags, and jealous rage.

            that’s also a paraphrase, and not a quote, (so don’t use quotes, stupid) as he never said that, also known as “making shit up to suite my narrative, because i’m a child”

            I’m just going to say this now. You’re a fucking idiot. Let me know what you do with your phone that you think you know dick. You’re like every other kid here, who thinks he’s smarter based on what platform he uses, and it’s fucking pathetic, you people use your phone primarily for snap-chatting dick pics. I do actual work, and make money off mine. So what do you do? That you think you’re so elite? Would love to know random troll guy.

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            #HashtagItMustBeCoolToDroneOnAndOnAboutHowMuch-MoneyYouMakeUsingYourPileOfAndroidDevices

            #HashtagItAlsoMustBeCoolToArgueBackAndForthWithA-BunchOfIdiotChildrenWhenYou’reSoAwesomeMakingPiles-OfCashWithYourMountainOfAndroidDevices

  • ASYOUTHIA

    Apple already has a solution for this: longer power cables

    • Satongi

      /sarcasm

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    • mobilemann

      you’re troll would be good if iOS didn’t destroy Android when it comes to standby, but you’re a child and i didn’t think you would know anything about the mobile OSs you speak of, like 80% of the participants in this forum.

      • MrMagoo

        You say that, but my daughters iphone typically lasts half the time my phone lasts when sitting. It really depends on what apps people are using and what runs in the background. You have 2 new installs on both… I think it would be pretty close…. Obviously depending on the Android device…. and that’s because we have options and aren’t stuck to one phone.

        • mobilemann

          “It really depends on what apps people are using and what runs in the background. You have 2 new installs on both… I think it would be pretty close….”

          Yes and no. Yes it totally depends on what apps are installed (facebook!) and no if they were both new, you would see how much better standby time is on iOS. it’s night and day.

          • Miklós Tóth

            You are kind of true that iOS doesn’t use as much battery (except Android 6, because doze mode), but many Android phones have batteries that destroy the iPhones, eg: Motorola DROID Turbo: 3900 mAh vs iPhone 6: 1810 mAh. And I haven’t spoken about AMOLED displays and using a dark theme and background.

          • mobilemann

            amoled is still more power hungry than a IPS lcd. That being said, i prefer AMOLED screens and hope apple starts using them.

            (i’m actually just a fan of technology, not any particular platform or OEM).

            And my 6s+ has about a 3k battery, which is 2 days conservative, or 1 day sitting on it all day long for me.

          • mobilemann

            lol, well the turbo is straight up a 2 day phone by way of giant battery. Most bigger phones have 3k range (like the 6s plus) although the 6 does have a smaller battery than the industry average. Which if you think about it, kinda proves my point.

      • Hotbod Handsomeface

        Go away, Apple fanboy.

        • mobilemann

          yes, mentioning apple and not saying they are terrible makes me only like them, as a zombie / sheep hybrid.

          Try for like 10 min to not be a total idiot. Just try.

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            #HashtagStopFollowingMeAroundTheInternetAndGoMakeYour-PilesOfCashWithYourMoutainsOfAndroidDevices

            #HashtagTrollElsewhereYouTrolleeTrollenstein

          • mobilemann

            #donemakingpilesofcashfortheweek #learnhowtouseyourdeviceyoufuckingtroglodyte

          • 1213 1213

            When you come here of all places and start trolling about Apple, obviously no one can take you seriously.

            Gsmarena has a battery rrating that consists of 21 hours of standby time, and yet the iPhone still does worse than the competitors, despite the supposed advantage of not using the phone you bought so you can use (but in your case its for the way it looks so I guess its more important).

            Once doze becomes the norm the iPhone will fall further.

          • mobilemann

            you think competing technologies wipe each other out. They help each other evolve. Again, you’re a fucking idiot, who uses his phone exclusively for snapchat and facebook, all while trying to make yourself feel superior by using a competing platform. Which is pathetic.

          • 1213 1213

            I’m sorry but none of this is remotely related to what I said, so I can only assume youbreplied to the wrong person. Especially when you used the word ‘again’.

            I’ve never even installed Facebook or snapchat on my phone ever, and have never made an account for either so there really is no way this response is for me. Other than that the rest of what you said is simply incoherent at best… :/

          • mobilemann

            but yeah, doze will help like project butter helped.

          • 1213 1213

            Gsmarena’s battery test is supposedly really biased towards iphones with 21 hours of standby time, which you claim androids suck at. Even still iphones have crappy ratings compared to the competition.

            So even without doze, androids perform much much better. If you bothered to use power saving modes than it would be even better anyway. But don’t let facts get in the way, you’re just a troll on androidauthority, who claims to know so much.

          • mobilemann

            did you read that before posting it? And i’m just someone who uses android that also uses iOS, that knows a great deal more than you:D

          • 1213 1213

            You’ve shown you know a great deal of nothing. Your statements are completely incoherent at best, but most of them are also irrelevant. Like this one which doesn’t say anything about anything.

          • mobilemann

            you literally just said GSMs test work out better for iOS, then called them bias, which is cute. but yeah, i’m just making things up.

            It’s not like there’s aren’t a million threads supporting this, it’s not my fault you’re such a technological troglodyte you have no idea about competing platforms.

            http://smallbusiness.chron.com/android-vs-ios-battery-life-63204.html

          • 1213 1213

            Well favouring a device by using a usage which is optimal to it is biased to that device, genius.

            What point do you think you’re making with that link exactly, did you even read it? Which is looking to be three years old might I add. Unless you thought I was talking about mAh for some reason? XD

            But anyway I made my point in my first post and also my second. Your failure to refute it and continued barrage of incoherence and irrelevance says enough. Good day, ignorant troll.

          • mobilemann

            irony. You made no point, You gave no reason, and i gave you a citation all about how iOS standby is better, but i am the troll.

            It must be a strange world you live in kid.

          • 1213 1213

            LOL I see you converted to full time troll, posting nonsensical remarks to all my posts everywhere. And BTW, that link is old, and doesn’t say anything about iOS having better standby. It states an overview but doesn’t make any actual analysis.

            I liked the design and functionality one though, shows how much of an iDiot you are, especially given how disconnected it was to my post, but then again all your posts are like that.

            Congrats on making it to my ignore list ;-)

          • mobilemann

            nah, just correcting you where you blatantly lie, you little cheerleading fanboy. And the link specifically asks why Android standby isn’t nearly as good. And the answer is always the same, which is lack of a process like Doze.

            And you could get a setup like that running on android. I did. Just used greenify and WLD with the xposed mod. You shouldn’t have to do that. You again, have no fucking idea what your talking about.

      • nebulaoperator

        It’s called AndroidAuthority forum. We can’t take you seriously.

        • mobilemann

          doesn’t make me less right, and they are direct competitors so it would be compared.

          • nebulaoperator

            Unfortunately upon entering AA website you been stripped of all tutti frutti powers.

          • mobilemann

            doesn’t help you with your cognizance problem.

          • nebulaoperator

            I was cheering you up but you took it way too seriously

          • Zennie Negi

            haha, you apple people. Know nothing, Do nothing, see glittering apple advertisements, yell at apple store “Shut up and take my money”. And brag about how good it is to have a longer brick for life.

          • mobilemann

            I can do more with my iphone than you can do with an i7. I’m not kidding. You think because you’re on android you’re smarter than iOS users? Cause that’s pretty fucking funny, you dopey fuck.

      • ASYOUTHIA

        Hahaha standby time! Yes, let’s not use what we spent $700+ for! iNgenious!

        • mobilemann

          what do you do with your devices? And that standby allows time to actually use the device when you want to.

          • ASYOUTHIA

            I’m getting between 5-6 hours SoT and can easily get 3 days out of mine with not using it

          • mobilemann

            Sweet, i can do two, but i actually use my devices. I game and watched videos via plex sync in the subway, monitor IP camera networks, control and use my server services (sickrage / sab / couch / sftp / vpn etc.) Control any piece of home automation via a single interface or via siri, pay all my bills with a thumb, and sometimes call people.

            What do you actually do with your phone? Because most kids here just play on facebook and send dick pics via snap chat. What do you do?

          • ASYOUTHIA

            Texting, phone calls, email, web browsing, streaming video and music

          • mobilemann

            you could do this with a blackberry, and you call out apple users. lol.

          • ASYOUTHIA

            iOS is known for people sending dickpics.

            “Siri, send my dickpic to my boyfriend…”

          • mobilemann

            hey man to each their own, if you want to do that with your device, i have no problems with it. I’m just laughing that you think any group of users is more technical than another based on platform preference. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • ASYOUTHIA

            Overall Android users are more tech savvy, iOS users get Apple because of the brand and Apple Message

          • mobilemann

            You speak for all iOS users? That’s ridiculous. I don’t think all android users for example, are nearly as stupid as you:D

          • ASYOUTHIA

            Oh, look at you. You tried to make a funny

          • mobilemann

            I dont’ have to, you literally are a funny.

          • ASYOUTHIA

            *are a funny mf’er

            Thanks!

          • mobilemann

            is this russian for a joke?

          • mobilemann

            also, while i generally can only get 2 days out of it, i get way more screen on time, 7 hours or more.

          • ASYOUTHIA

            On what device?

          • mobilemann

            6s+

          • ASYOUTHIA

            Try that in a regular 6S! LMFAO

          • mobilemann

            it has a much smaller battery, so yeah, it wouldn’t do as well.

      • Svnjay

        Doze would like to have a word with you.

        • mobilemann

          like butter? Another half solution.

          • Svnjay

            Doze works exactly like standby in iOS. It limits background apps.

          • mobilemann

            first, that breaks apps, in Android, and not iOS. second it’s incredibly ironic that, that behavior was touted as a negative until google added it in 6.

            if your platform had better dev engagement you they would be updated quickly, but they will stay broken most likely. sad but true.

          • mobilemann

            also, a good place to point out, Android is borrowing more from iOS (again), rather than the other way around, with things like this and the new permissioning system.

          • David Camacho

            But iOS borrows from Android as well…

          • mobilemann

            yes, of course it does! A lot, for years it was the other way around, and before that, like it is now again.

      • David Camacho

        I think that you have to realize that the realm of android is to big to associate it directly to the two (basically one) apple phones. Also are you saying that iOS has the best standby time of all smartphones?

        • mobilemann

          iOS is an OS, not a smartphone. (look at your phrasing) I’m saying iOS in general is better at getting into and staying in deep sleep without loosing ridiculous amounts of functionality than android.

          • David Camacho

            I recognize that but are you not only referring to the iPhone?? Also, I understand what you’re saying, I’ll have to do my research to confirm.

      • none

        Apple destroys Android in the ability to use Facetime, and play iTunes video. That’s it, really. The battery life on Apple devices is atrocious, of course, just like on most other devices (the bad design decisions to focus on something as silly as thin-ness, even if it means the battery will only last 8 hours)

        • mobilemann

          Kid, now that apple allows apps to run things in the background, this can happen. But if setup properly, like android, they are about the same, with iOS’s deep sleep killing androids, which is ok. To get the type of battery life my note’s were advertising it was greenify and WLD the whole way. That’s bullshit.

  • JayEvans

    Love these stories….

    “Unfortunately, this means that the team expects that we are still at least a decade away from seeing a truly practical design,”

    “Scientist say it will be possible to drive to the moon. We just have to come up with a practical bridge design”

    • Hotbod Handsomeface

      You sir have figured out science.

  • whats up

    such news i heard from last 10 yrs but not seen any practical use …these are just pop up news to make headlines and fill columns
    if they really want better world
    my simple question is why they not invest billion dollar in battery or any future sustainable energy market
    coz they never want people should get free energy or easy accessible energy there priority is economy 1st (through which they generate wealth ) then people

    • nebulaoperator

      Totally agree. It’s always round the corner but never quite ready yet. Whole crap of media bullshit. Great example of what Elan Musk achieved in such a short time . It is possible but their rather choose to make another monetize option and manufacturer 10000 mah power bank.

  • Fredrol

    Soo.. when will i get this in my phone? 5, 10, 15 years?

  • Marty

    Some more stupid researchers that are committing suicide…or will be suicided, I mean. “Big oil” will not tolerate such insurrection.

  • ConCal

    Give me some of that Li-Oxy battery.

  • Peter

    The ultimate battery would be fueled by urine and discharge distilled water as a ‘waste product’

  • jamesindc

    It won’t get to consumers anytime soon because companies will fight for patent rights. Thanks for nothing corporations!!!

  • wric01

    Problem is overpriced licensing, manufacturers rather wait 20 years for patent to expire. But fear not huawei will bring fast charging phones to market in a year or 2.

  • Siddharth S Nayak

    Even if they make this battery available in the near future. Oems will make the device even more thinner and place a small battery.

  • t_newt

    A lot of people don’t know that when Tesla first started, they used the best battery that was available: the ones in laptop computers. They bought thousands of them and put them all together to make them into a big enough battery to power a car, and since it consisted of the best batteries on the market, it was the best electric car on the market. (They still get their batteries from Panasonic–Panasonic is working with them on their Gigafactory).

    So if they come out with a phone battery that is better than any battery on the market, guess who’s going to buy a whole lotta these batteries for our 400 mile range cars?