If you are trying to design something futuristic, chances are you are waiting on the meterials available to catch up with your idea. Battery and storage technologies are having a hard time keeping up with the speed at which our portability and mobility is advancing
It is unheard of to have a conversation without one of these terms creeping into our conversation:
- My battery is flat
- I need to recharge my battery
- My battery is 10%
- I need to change my battery because it is not charging anymore
The electric vehicle has failed to become the accepted mode of transportation for many because of the battery, but more options are becoming available that can help us reimagine what mobility will look like in the future.
Let’s begin with some battery basics. Wikipedia defines a battery as follows:
“A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, laptops, mobile phones, and electric cars. When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode. The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that will flow through an external electric circuit to the positive terminal.”
The Origins of Batteries
Although the Baghdad Battery discovered in Iraq dated 150BC to 650 AD resembles modern-day batteries, scientists are still at odds regarding the actual function of the find. Until consensus is reached, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta is accredited for building and demonstrating his electrochemical battery, the voltaic pile, in 1800.
3 Batteries of The Future
1. Urine Batteries
The Bill Gates Foundation is funding research involving batteries that can charge a smartphone powered by urine. Using a Microbial Fuel Cell, micro-organisms take the urine, break it down and output electricity.
“Urea is a good ingredient for a battery to be made on large scales for grid storage because it is so cheap,” says Michael Angell, Stanford PhD candidate in chemistry. “Also, the Coulombic efficiency of the battery is very high, 99.7 percent, which suggests that the cycle life is very long.”
2. Sound Batteries
Researchers in the UK have built a phone that is able to charge using ambient sound in the atmosphere around it. With the aid of the piezoelectric effect, nanogenerators harvest ambient noise/sound and convert it into electric current.
3. Sand Batteries
By replacing the current graphite anode in a lithium-ion battery with silicon manufactured from common sand, the batteries longevity is improved three times.
Silanano is a battery tech startup that’s bringing this technique to market and has seen big investment from companies like Daimler and BMW.
With this amount of research underway, conversations in the future will become more carefree without the little beep in your ear reminding you that your device needs your attention.
Image Credit: Pixabay