Though these entries are still just ideas, they have the potential to change battery technology completely. Below are the eight best innovations to be announced within the last quarter:
1. Solar Cells Integrated with Lithium-Iodine Technology
Researchers at Ohio State University have used a solar cell to increase the efficiency of lithium-iodine technology. With the two battery technologies working together, it will reduce energy consumption by almost 20%.
2. Battery Parts Made from Plant Leaves
Lithium-ion batteries could soon be made out of silicon from reed leaves, according to scientists in Germany and China. This silicon is easy to process, making it a potentially cheap alternative to the less-effective carbon anodes.
3. Super Hot Lithium-Ion Batteries
South Korean scientists have developed a lithium-ion battery that can function even at temperatures of nearly 100°C.
4. Twice the Power
Samsung Electronics has doubled the capacity of their lithium-ion batteries by covering the silicon cathodes with graphene. However, this new idea may take a couple years before it arrives in the marketplace.
5. Mimicking Plants
Photosynthesis is the process plants use to turn sunlight into energy, and researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles used this process as an inspiration to design a solar cell that can store energy for weeks at a time.
6. Batteries made from Wood
Nanocellulose, tiny fibers made from wood, can be used to make batteries as demonstrated by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and Stanford University. Batteries made from nanocellulose can fit the surface area of a football field into one cubic decimeter.
7. Calcium: Not Just for Bones Anymore
Lithium-ion batteries may have a challenger, according to researchers in France and Spain. They are working on developing a battery made out of calcium, a material that is much cheaper and less environmentally costly to obtain than lithium.
8. Skin Pigment
Dark skin is caused by the pigment melanin, and surprisingly, it is being tested to see if it is good at storing energy. River Road Research and the Rochester Institute of Technology received funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation to work on the project, and the early results are promising. Batteries using melanin would be cheaper to manufacture and less harmful to the environment.