Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University

Scientists are inching closer to a solution for poor battery life

A team in California claims to have created an aluminium battery that could charge in just one minute.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 04 Sep 2015

It's a wonder the world's yet to create a commercially available battery that is both lightweight and long-lasting. While smartphones have got increasingly powerful and digital technology as a whole has grown much more complex, a corresponding increase in battery life has remained elusive. It's a problem facing electric car manufacturers as well, and as they've become increasingly popular, finding a way to deliver a range of more than a few hours and shorter charge times becomes increasingly urgent.

It should come as no surprise, then, that researchers are spending bags of time and money trying to come up with a better alternative. In November last year, researchers at MIT claimed to have come up with a new lithium ion battery that could triple the range of electric cars, and cut down on battery costs, which they hoped could be launched by next year. And last month Dyson invested $15m (£10.2m) in Sakti3, an American startup whose solid state lithium ion cells are said to be more powerful, longer lasting cheaper and safer than existing batteries.

But it could be that the best solution is to look for a different material. Yesterday, scientists at Stanford University claimed to have invented an aluminium battery that can be charged in a lightning-fast 60 seconds. It's also flexible, which means it could be useful in wearable tech and bendy phones.

There's no word on whether it could have applications for electric cars though, and given the fact it produces around 2 volts, little more than an AA battery, that seems unlikely for now. Nonetheless, it seems the boffins are on the cusp of finding a commercially viable solution to our low battery woes.

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