updated 03:20 pm EDT, Thu April 10, 2008
Argonne Composite Battery
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL claim to have developed composite battery materials that will increase battery life by up to 30 percent, as well as making them safer and last longer than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries, based on a new generation of lithium-ion electrode chemistry, are similar to the ones GM is developing for its Chevy Volt electric vehicle, but Argonne is likely to market its technology to extend the usefulness of laptops and cell phones.
Argonne made the batteries more stable than conventional ones by replacing some cobalt oxide with manganese oxide, which is more chemically stable. Then, some of the active metal oxide material in the electrode was replaced with an inactive material to form a composite and make the material more stable and therefore last longer. In testing, a version of the new material endured more than two times as many charge/discharge cycles as conventional laptop batteries.
The resulting electrode composite material can hold 45 to 50 percent more charge than the best from the current crop of batteries on the market today, but due to packaging restrictions, production batteries should be good for between 20 to 30 percent improvements.
The Laboratory licensed the technology to Toda Kogyo, a Japan-based supplier capable to supply materials for 30 million batteries per year. This is the first step to bringing the technology to market, and while it's not known who will sign on to use the batteries in their products, it should provide a significant market advantage. [via Technology Review]