Melissa Dewberry enjoys doing crossword puzzles, walking her cat and pondering ways to patch up the hole in the ozone layer.
Smaller, Cheaper, Safer
An environmentally-sound polymer jelly is currently being developed in hopes of replacing the hazardous liquid electrolyte currently found in most lithium batteries.
Not only can the polymer jelly make batteries significantly more eco-friendly, but researchers at the University of Leeds also believe that their development can help make smaller, cheaper, and safer gadgets. The new battery will use a rubber-like polymer with the liquid electrolyte, which makes a flexible film of gel that will then be placed between the battery’s electrodes.
Laptops and electric cars top the list of battery-powered devices that can benefit from a safer and more efficient battery. Laptop weight is still dictated by the size of the battery powering it, and the current lithium batteries are often volatile, as demonstrated in a recall by Dell computer in 2006. The computer titan had to recall over four million laptop batteries because of concerns they might catch fire.
Peter Bruce from the University of St. Andrews stated that “[s]afety is of paramount importance in lithium batteries. Conventional lithium batteries use electrolytes based on organic liquids; this is what you see burning in pictures of lithium batteries that catch fire. Replacing liquid electrolytes by a polymer or gel electrolyte should improve safety and lead to an all-solid-state-cell.”
The new jelly filled batteries will prevent the phenomena called “thermal runaway,” which occurs when batteries reach temperatures of several hundred degrees and catch fire.
In addition to being safer and more eco-friendly, the researchers are also saying that their batteries will be a more economically friendly price than the other options currently on the market. That means that we won’t kill the environment, light ourselves on fire, or go broke supplying our next must-have-gadget with power!
Read more at BBC News.