Building a Better Battery

Your smartphone is wonderful. It can steer you to that trendy new fusion restaurant if you’re lost

Your smartphone is wonderful. It can steer you to that trendy new fusion restaurant if you’re lost. It can play your favorite sitcom as you head to work on the train. It can play your favorite song at the touch of a button. However it can’t do any of this if its battery is dead.

A Better Battery on the Way?

Fortunately, a better battery might soon be on the way, due to the efforts of a team of engineers at Chicago’s Northwestern University. A recent story reports that researchers at this Big 10 university are attempting to make a battery that lasts longer and can recharge itself in just minutes. Smartphone users around the world ought to be thankful.

Northwestern’s researchers have found a way to extend the charge of lithium-ion batteries by more then 10 times the current lithium-ion battery life. They’re even boasting that after 150 charges, which they believe represents about a year of operation, the new lithium-ion battery will be 5 times more effective than batteries at this time.

A Charged Battery for a Week

Here’s the bottom line: The new cell phone battery could remain charged for over a week and then recharge itself in just 15 minutes. This is good news for you: It could mean that your iPod won’t run out of juice while you are working the treadmill at the gym. But the new, better battery may have a much greater impact: According to the Northwestern story, this new battery technology could result in smaller and more efficient batteries for electric cars. This may help the United States—and other countries—cut its reliance upon fossil fuels.

Batteries Powering Technological Change

The new battery technology isn’t available yet for consumers, however the Northwestern researchers say that it could hit the market in 3 to 5 years. This is a big step. When we look at developments in technology, we tend to forget about the batteries that power our latest gadgets. Battery limitations are one of the factors holding back an even greater technology revolution. The hope is that the research done at Northwestern University can change this.

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