New battery technology stores 2,000 times more energy than normal batteries

- Recharges 1,000 times faster than competing technology.

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A new paper in the journal Nature describes lithium ion ‘microbatteries’ which make use of 3D electrodes to store power at densities 2,000 times higher than current technologies, and which can be recharged 1,000 times faster.

The team behind it says the technology can be easily scaled up for mass production.

In principle our technology is scalable all the way up to electronics and vehicles.

"You could replace your car battery with one of our batteries and it would be 10 times smaller, or 10 times more powerful. With that in mind you could jumpstart a car with the battery in your cell phone."

While the technology would prove useful in keeping up with ever-increasing power demands for portable technology such as tablets and smartphones, the team says safety issue will need to be addressed before it can be used in commercial products.

"The challenges are: scaling this up to manufacturing levels; developing a simpler fabrication route; and addressing safety issues.

"I’d want to know if these microbatteries would be more prone to the self-combustion issues that plagued lithium-cobalt oxide batteries which we’ve seen become an issue of concern with Boeing’s Dreamliner jets."

He said that in the test equipment only a microscopic amount of the liquid was used, making the risk of an explosion negligible - but if it were scaled up to large sizes the danger could become “significant”. Prof King acknowledged that safety was an issue due to the fact the current electrolyte was a combustible liquid.

However, he added that he soon planned to switch to a safer polymer-based electrolyte to address the issue.

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The next step for the team will be to get it ready to be trialled as a power source for electronic equipment before the end of the year.

BBC

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