Makers of portable electronic devices might be interested in a new synthetic carbon anode that would effectively make a 30% thinner lithium-ion battery.
With the growing popularity of portable electronic devices, lithium-ion battery technology is becoming more and more important. Battery capacity is becoming just as important as form factor. Marketing consistently hawks “X hours battery life” and “thinnest and lightest device” for the latest devices. Battery technology has a lot to do with those two statements, and lithium-ion batteries have made it possible.
Still, battery life and battery form are opposing each other, so the multifaceted approach to personal electronic devices has made the best of what’s available. The electronics themselves are becoming more efficient, consume less power, and thus make better use of the battery, so the battery can be made smaller. Lithium-ion battery technology is constantly improving, including a new synthetic anode material developed by EnerG2, which could increase capacity [read: reduce size and weight] of current lithium-ion batteries by 30%.
EnerG2’s new synthetic anode material, hard carbon, is produced with an amorphous nanostructure, that is, it isn’t smooth. Nanomaterials are unique when compared to their elemental crystalline materials, because they greatly expand their surface area. In the case of the new hard carbon anode, it has about 50% more surface area than the equivalent weight in graphite.
Makers of lithium ion batteries wouldn’t have to change their manufacturing processes, since the hard carbon anode is a drop-in replacement. The only problem with the technology could be cost, as hard carbon costs about 20% more to manufacture. Makers of personal electronic devices would probably be willing to pay a premium for a thinner or longer-lasting lithium-ion battery. On the other hand, makers of electric vehicles probably won’t see the benefit in paying 20% more for just a 10% increase in capacity.