To appreciate how battery technology is to shape the future, we only need to think about how it is already shaping the present. Batteries are an incredibly old technology, and yet it seems like it is only now that they are really coming into their own as a major energy source for the world.
There are so many different areas of life where battery energy is taking over. In the home, we have technologies like the USB C rechargeable 9V smart batteries (which are replacing many of the old household batteries) produced by the likes of Pale Blue Earth. On the road, we have, of course, the rise of the EV and the massive li-ion batteries that power them. On the go, we have the smaller li-ion smart batteries inside our smartphones and electronic devices. When it comes to public energy supplies, we see battery power being used more and more as an alternative to fossil fuels. The list goes on.
However, as much as batteries are shaping the present, most experts agree that they are sure to havean essential place in the future too.
The Development of Battery Technology
Batteries are being improved all the time, but not linearly. A quick look at the history of batteries shows that there tends to be a major breakthrough every generation or so, and the technology is then refined from there.
The lithium-ion battery was the last major revolution in battery technology, and it is the one that made portable electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones possible. That was back in the nineties, but we are all aware that things developed from there. For example, the batteries inside laptops today are considerably more efficient than those inside the portable technology of the nineties. And of course, it is also li-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
Nevertheless, batteries could be on the cusp of the next big breakthrough. There are a number of areas where this could potentially arrive but, most probably, it will take the form of new battery materials that will provide even more efficient energy release and charging than the li-ion battery.
Of course, battery technology is also developing in order to overcome certain challenges which have been brought about by batteries themselves. Thesechallenges mainly involve sustainability, and li-ion batteries (or any other kind) are not, at present, sustainable products.
The lithium needed for li-ion batteries is expensive and environmentally damaging to mine, and this is something that will have to be overcome, certainly if EVs are going to take over the roads.
New Battery Technologies
With all of that said then, what type of new batteries can be expected to come along? One candidate is NanoBolt lithium tungsten batteries. These batteries work by building up a web-like nano structure with a massively increased surface area for ions to bond to during charge and recharge cycles.
This means, simply, that they can hold considerably more power. Technologies like this, and others like it, could mean smartphone batteries that last for a weekand a massive reduction in environmentally harmful battery waste.
Another technique to the same end is to increase the energy capacity of batteries without increasing the amount of material used or the cost. Zinc-manganese oxide batteries seem to fit this bill. These use a chemical reaction that has just been discovered. This too could “threaten” the dominance of the lithium-ion battery.
Batteries are not going anywhere – they offer too much. This means that there is now just as much effort towards overcoming the challenges inherent within batteriesas there is in the benefits they can potentially provide.