There have been some amazing advancements in the lithium-ion battery market recently, from utility-scale batteries to batteries that can bend.
This week, yet another fantastical use for these batteries was announced: the very screens for cell phones.
Researchers at Kogakuin University in Japan, led by president and professor Mitsunobu Sato, have been developing this new, thin battery since 2013.
Three different kinds of lithium mixes are used in the battery: lithium iron phosphate, lithium titanate, and lithium hexaflourophosphate.
That list of long words amounts to a powerful but mostly transparent battery. The electrode for this design is only about 80 to 90 nanometers thick. This gives the resulting sheet a very slight dark color, but allows plenty of light through.
Essentially, it’s like a solar panel without the separate solar cell.
With a little more development, these sheet-like batteries could be used as smart-windows for homes and buildings. With the addition of technology that would dim the color of the sheet in the sun, the battery could absorb even more light and collect energy.
Eventually, the technology could be adapted into smaller devices, making laptops, phones, and even smart watches able recharge in sunlight.
We’ve spoken recently about the global desire for personal energy management. As the world moves closer to cleaner energy production, energy storage is becoming ever more important.
This kind of battery would assist in both endeavors, both with its use of solar power and its ability to put energy storage literally in the hands of the user.
It may be several more years before this technology is commercially available, but that it exists at all should excite investors in both the renewable and energy storage markets.
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Until next time,
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