Lithium-ion batteries have an unexpected long cycle life while packing more than the expected power for many electronic devices. Also called Li-ion batteries, they come in two configurations, general purpose LI-ion and special purpose. Special purpose lithium-ion batteries are for:
- Hand tools
- Surveying equipment
- and More
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Lithium-ion battery technology advanced in 2014, and will be showing up in new batteries in the not-too-distant future. In addition to powering handheld battery devices, Li-ion technology is used in electric and hybrid cars.
Scientists at MIT, discovered ways to enhance the number of times that Lithium – ion batteries are rechargeable. It will not take too long for this technology to find its way to small Li-ion battery packs.
Other Advances in Battery Technology
In electronics, Moore’s Law states that computer microchips double in performance and drop their price by 50 percent every 18 to 24 months. Batteries have a much slower advancement experience curve. One reason for this is the high price of the materials used to manufacture batteries. This is why electric cars are more costly than gasoline models. In fact, venture capitalists that invest in other sectors of the economy seek high order-of-magnitude, yet when a venture capitalist invests in advanced battery technology, they are happy with startups that show improvement in battery power in only 1.2 times.
Nevertheless, inventors and entrepreneurs are working on new battery technology. Some highlights in battery tech include:
Liquid Metal Battery
Developed jointly by MIT and the Liquid Battery Company (now known as AMBRI) is the liquid metal battery. The purpose of this battery is to give ancillary power to the power grid. AMBRI says it makes it from low-cost, easy to find materials, is simple to make and easy to deploy. It has long life, is scalable and reliable.
Lithium Ion IMIDE
The Leyden Energy Company is the developer of this technology. They are using IMIDE as the electrolyte, and not PF6 based electrolyte. Leyden claims that this change makes the battery safer and longer lasting than today’s common PF6 based ion-lithium batteries.
Lithium Air Battery
IBM is working on a battery that is lithium-air powered. The company claims that their battery will improve battery performance 10 times more than existing batteries. Theoretically, this type of battery can store 3,400 watts of energy per liter compared to 1,450 watts per liter stored with a Lithium cobalt battery.
Solid State Batteries
Toyota wants to boost the range of its hybrid and plug-in cars and cut the battery size. They have begun development of a solid-state battery to meet these goals.
While computer, cell phones, smart phones and related devices are all battery- powered, users want them to run longer between charges. Many individuals, such as Tony Fadell, a former Apple vice president that led to the development of the iPod and iPhone, believe that development of a new type of battery for these devices is too time and resource consuming. They see small incremental changes in battery technology, developing batteries that are more powerful and long lasting than the current batteries available for small device use today.