Jellylike polymer gel battery promises safe flexible lithiumion replacement

first_imgPierce these gel batteries and they won’t set on fireAt the University of Leeds Professor Ian Ward believes he has come up with a new generation of rechargeable battery that could replace existing lithium-ion solutions.Today’s lithium-ion batteries deliver enough charge to keep a laptop going for several hours, but they are rigid, heavy, and potentially dangerous due to the materials they contain. So Professor Ward set about creating an alternative, with the end result being a very safe jelly-like battery.What Professor Ward has managed to do is combine a rubber-like polymer with a conductive, liquid electrolyte. Using a new, patented manufacturing process called extrusion/lamination a thermo-reversible gel is formed into a conductive film strip that is around 70% liquid. That strip can be flexed and positioned as necessary, and is only a few nanometers thick meaning it can fit in many more configurations than existing rigid batteries.The new batteries are not only much more flexible, they can easily be produced on a massive scale with the manufacturing process creating 10 meters every minute. The batteries can be cut to size and there’s no chance of overheating due to the electrodes being sealed together as part of the process. The flammable solvents are sealed in at the molecular level meaning you don’t get any overheating issues even when the battery is compromised. Best of all, the production costs are as low as 10% that of existing batteries.The University has licensed the new battery technology to Polystor Energy Corporation, a company currently focused on advanced lithium ion batteries. Hopefully that means they are in a position to get these new jelly polymer batteries to market quickly, potentially pushing lithium-ion batteries into second place as the battery tech of choice for new devices. However, talk of lightweight batteries has captured the interest of the military, so expect heavy investment and use in that sector first.If you have access to BBC Radio stations then Professor Ward recently gave an interview about the new battery tech which is well worth listening to.Read more at the University of Leeds and BBC Newslast_img read more