Building better batteries

Battery research

Source: © Doug John Miller @ Début Art

The next generation of battery technologies might pack significantly more power into the electric cars and mobile devices of the future. James Mitchell Crow reports

Some promising battery concepts have been stuck at the research phase for half a century, but they may not languish in labs for much longer. Sparked by the nascent multi-sector electrification boom, an intense effort is now underway to bring high-performance battery technologies into real world use. To make a better battery for mobile applications such as phones, laptops or electric vehicles, the defining design parameter is to pack the maximum electrical energy into the smallest, lightest package possible. If you were to go back to the periodic table, and design such a battery from scratch, it is still hard to go past lithium.

So researchers are hunting for more efficient anodes, cathodes and electrolytes, as well as alternative battery technologies