The development of a new hi-tech rechargeable battery has been discussed this week at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The new high-performance batteries are portable and can be woven into fabrics, for both military and civil purposes.
Standard batteries produce electricity by transforming chemical energy into electrical energy using an anode and a cathode. But scientists have developed a new type of cathode using an iron-fluoride material that in the future could produce power-saving, flexible and lightweight batteries. Their performance is also higher in terms of chargeability, compared to today’s batteries.
Mark Allen, Ph.D at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who takes part in this project, said, “We’re talking about fabrics that also are batteries”. These flexible batteries could power GPS units, portable radios, mobile phones or any other high-tech device that we use on a daily basis.
Allen has continued research carried out by MIT scientist Angela Belcher and her team, who developed a virus that has an essential part in the making of lithium ion batteries. The virus, named M13 bacteriophage, infects bacteria, but has no harmful effects upon people. Moreover, the materials and the way of producing these batteries are environmentally friendly and pose fewer risks than standard batteries, as Allen explains. “These materials should be less dangerous than those used in current lithium-ion batteries because they produce less heat, which reduces flammability risks.”
Apart from being an example of green technology, these new power sources have the advantage of weighing less and lasting longer than the normal ones. This could be in hand for almost anyone carrying hi-tech devices, raging from soldiers to business people.