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Why the perfect, long-lasting battery for your smartphone seems like it’ll never come


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What caught my eye is the fact that the same lithium batteries he is improving are the ones in EVs. His time frames for development are in alignment with Tesla's completion of the first Gigafactory. But again these are unproven as of yet in actual production and use. But well worth following for me.

 

Excerpt:

 

"There may come a time when a single charge will be more than enough. Enough not just to get through a day, but several days worth of playing music, games, editing photos, surfing the web, socializing and countless other things we’ve grown accustomed to using our smartphones for. Perhaps it’ll even be enough to get us through the week. Dare to dream, I say!

 

That will, of course, require a scientific breakthrough of sorts — one that eventually leads to a vast improvement beyond the lithium-ion batteries we heavily rely on today. Such a breakthrough, by extension, would also be a watershed moment for ultraportable wearable devices such as smartwatches as well as drones, plug-in electric vehicles and numerous other technologies that haven’t yet lived up to the hype, in part due to the same limitations.

 

SolidEnergy Systems, a Boston-based start-up, is the latest in a crowded list of upstarts who claim to have come up with such a breakthrough. What’s notable here, though, is that they appear to be further along than most, having recently unveiled a prototype that their tests show lasts twice as long between charges compared to lithium-ion batteries of the same size. The results were certified by A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer who is collaborating on the project.

 

John Wozniak, an independent tech consulting whose expertise in battery manufacturing included a five-year stint as a contractor for Energizer and 12 years as a “Distinguished Technologist,” at Hewlett Packard, says that while he finds the approach to be promising, he has his doubts. “Big manufacturers prefer to do it all in house, so they’d rather figure out how a new technology works and tweak the formula to get around a patent,” he says. “Licensing deals are possible but its something big, established manufacturers simply don’t do.”

 

“Unless,” he adds, “they have to.”

 

However, Wozniak did praise the ongoing developments out of Boston as having “the most potential” of the bunch — the bunch being several competing ideas that include the likes of lithium-air, lithium-sulfur and silicon. He said he’s considering reaching out to Microsoft to see if it wanted to encourage one of its battery suppliers to license the technology. “I suppose it might be a good idea to ping them to at least find out if they’ve put it through puncture tests and other safety protocols,” he adds.

 

Hu’s ambitious timeframe for expansion into several markets has the technology reaching a level where suitable for portable devices such as smartphones by the end of next year, and electric cars the year after. “I know there are some people who may be skeptical of whether we will finally see these significant leaps in battery life because making it happen requires materials improvements, which usually takes time,” he says.

 

But, he added, “it took us just one year to piece together a good working prototype, so who knows what we will accomplish next year.”

 

Lots more details in the full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2015/02/23/why-the-perfect-long-lasting-battery-for-your-smartphone-seems-like-it-will-never-come/

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