The performance problems of current batteries are evident, but what’s being done to fix them? What does the future of batteries look like?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

The future holds many possibilities for batteries. Batteries that will never die, solid batteries, liquid batteries, electrical storage devices that are not even batteries — these are just a few examples of where this technology could go next. Currently, many batteries function by an anode giving up electrons to the cathode through a liquid or gel electrolyte. But these can come in many forms — rigid, stretchy, liquid, and gel.

Li-ion batteries are an excellent example of how far batteries have progressed. These type of batteries can be both inflexible and inflammable. To improve the Li-on battery, a team of researchers created a new kind of glue that can bind battery elements together with hydrogels, which meant that the anode and cathode could be put together into a spring shape. This system also inspired liquid batteries that mimic the how an electric eel conducts its electricity. Using an alternating pattern of saltwater and freshwater hydrogels, scientists found that the saltwater carries negative ions towards the freshwater, and a battery is formed.

All of this is great, but the ultimate fantasy for device owners, is a battery that will never die. One such attempt is the Vanadium Redox Flow battery — which has the potential to never need a charge again. It is a 250-kilowatt battery system in a 40-foot container that stores solar and wind energy. The chemical reactions inside come from two electrolyte solutions — the catholyte and anolyte of the transition metal, vanadium. They flow through electrode chambers with a membrane separating them. The battery could be recharged instantly by swapping out the electrolyte, and vanadium is inexpensive. However, they’re extremely large, so not exactly something you could fit inside a mobile device. This video, " The performance problems of current batteries are evident, but what’s being done to fix them? What does the future of batteries look like? ", first appeared on seeker.com.

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