New battery design could give devices twice as much battery life

'Or we can make a the same size as a lithium-ion battery, but now it will last twice as long'. Firstly, it's swapping out graphite - the common material for a battery anode - for a thinner lithium-metal foil. The lithium can hold more ions, and provides more energy capacity. Initially a challenge, SolidEnergy had to make do with equipment created to make battery components for consumer electronics.

As well as vastly increasing phone life, allowing two days or more of charge, the new battery could double the range of electric cars, reducing the "range anxiety" that has afflicted many electric vehicle drivers.

One of the new frontiers in battery technology is creating safer versions of the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery, like those that power electric cars and the computers or phones you read these words on.

As the hero graphic suggests, the first of these batteries are expected in drones right away, in November 2016. It's a very exciting and noble application.

SolidEnergy Systems' CEO Qichao Hu said: "Industry standard is that electric vehicles need to go at least 200 miles on a single charge". This battery could hold 2.0 Ah of charge, at half the size of an iPhone 6 battery, which can only hold 1.8 Ah of charge.

may last for two days or even a whole week at a time with the new Lithium metal batteries hopefully even under heavy Wi-Fi and screen brightness use. In the past, increases in battery life have lead to phones that are just way more power-hungry, canceling out any noticeable gain. Will the SolidEnergy perform as advertised in the real world? A123 flamed out spectacularly, which has made many people skeptical about any news claiming yet another battery breakthrough, but in this case it may be true. These designs and advancements form the basis of SolidEnery's technology.

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This shrunk the battery size by half but left the battery particularly volatile. It "can house the wings of a Boeing 747", said Hu.

To go with this, Hu developed a solid-plus-liquid hybrid electrolyte.

To solve that, the team developed a solid electrolyte coating for the lithium metal foil that functions at room temperature. That's an over-simplification, but basically that's all there is to it, a new electrolyte which allows you to use metal instead of graphite for the battery's cathode. This is what SolidEnergy's technology is built on. It sells them the key battery materials as well as helping them develop the engineering and manufacturing processes for target battery designs.

With their business plan, the team won the first-place prize at the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition's Accelerator Contest, and was a finalist in the MIT Clean Energy Prize.

This is a big deal for a company that, early on, lived in the shadow of another MIT lithium-battery spinout, A123 systems, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

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