Building a Better Battery

Have you ever needed your smartphone only to find that the battery has died and you’re nowhere near an outlet? It’s annoying, but in a few years, it could be a thing of the past.

A Better Battery on the Way?

Engineers at Chicago’s Northwestern University have been working on advancements in battery technology and may have discovered a way to make batteries charge in minutes and last significantly longer.

Northwestern’s researchers have found a method to lengthen the charge of lithium-ion batteries by more then 10 times the present 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 currently.

A Charged Battery for a Week

Here’s the bottom line: The new cell phone battery could remain charged for more than a week and then charge 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 could have a much greater impact: Based on 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

While this new battery technology will have a massive impact on many aspects of our life, it will not be available to the general public for three to five years, says Northwestern researchers. Batteries tend to be over looked when we think of innovative technologies, but the more we rely on mobile devices the more imperative they become.  Improvements in battery technology may in reality hold the key to an even greater technological movement.

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