Delft invention can extend battery life

A TU/Delft team has developed a technology that could potentially double the endurance of lithium batteries. Please note: this does not mean that the battery provides more capacity. The technology ensures that the total life of lithium-ion batteries is extended. In other words, that your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy battery has not lost so much of its maximum capacity after a few hundred charging cycles that it is better to replace it.

Salt as a protective layer for wear

The technology uses certain salts that are added to the electrolytes in the batteries. Simply put, they ensure that the energy of the battery can be stored and released in a better and more controlled manner. Lithium-ion batteries – and in fact all batteries – wear out especially during discharging and charging. The chemical process required for this generates heat, which wears out the materials in the battery.

The Delft scientists argue that this wear process can be slowed down by adding certain salts. The research and invention was recently published in Nature. The technology has not yet been tested in practice. That will change in the coming period, thanks to the Dutch battery developer LeydenJar.

Been looking for better batteries for fifteen years

It has been one of the most coveted improvements for gadgets for years, especially smartphones. Batteries that last longer between charges, so you don’t have to plug your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy into a charger every day. In more than 15 years, many inventions have been reviewed. In practice, however, it is still the case that most smartphone users always plug their device into the charger every night.

That does not mean that batteries today are not much better than fifteen years ago, but there is something else at play. The capacity of batteries is growing steadily, but so is the power consumption of smartphones. The arrival of faster processors, larger screens and, last but not least, the ever-growing use, largely erase the advantage of batteries with more capacity.

All in all, it is already better than fifteen years ago. Back then, many smartphones, with somewhat more intensive use, often had to be charged several times a day. Nowadays, almost all smartphones can get through the day on a single charge.

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