Beyond Lithium-Ion: What’s Next for Battery Technology?

(DGIwire) – Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the current industry standard—but it’s starting to look as if they might not be around forever. Although they are capable of holding a charge for a relatively long time, Li-ion batteries are expensive and—as several recent high-profile news items have shown the world—they have a tendency explode and put their users at risk. What are the alternatives? As it turns out, there are several promising new technologies on the horizon.

For example, as reported by Enterprise.nxt, one of the most intriguing ways forward involves something called Carbon-Ion™ cell technology.

“Imagine a battery that can charge in mere seconds,” says Stephen Voller, CEO and founder of ZapGo Ltd. “This lightning-fast charge is possible because ZapGo’s Carbon-Ion cells bypass chemistry completely in favor of static electricity.” As Voller notes, ZapGo’s Carbon-Ion cells, which were developed at the University of Oxford, employ an ionic reaction rather than a chemical one, using a nonflammable electrolyte along with high-surface carbon materials. This means they don’t have the same safety concerns as lithium-ion batteries. The charge builds up on the layers of the cell.

As Enterprise.nxt reports, Carbon-Ion—also known as graphene—cells aren’t only speedy; they are also dependable. Unlike Li-ion batteries, which offer two or three years of rechargeability, Carbon-Ion can charge and discharge 100,000 times—equivalent to about 30 years of use. And it is also recyclable.

ZapGo’s platform technology is planned to be incorporated into products such as cordless power tools, robotic cleaners and electric bikes available for sale during late 2017, where the recharge time will be reduced from hours to sub-five minutes. By 2020, the company envisions the technology as being practical for use in smartphones themselves, finally allowing mobile phones to be fully charged from empty in under five minutes.

“The future of battery technology looks bright indeed—and Carbon-Ion technology is driving a great deal of the excitement,” adds Voller.

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