An Accidently Invented Battery Can Last up to 400 years

Researchers from the University of California have unexpectedly created a battery that can continue for 200,000 cycles of recharging and can last up to 400 times longer. This invention could lead us nearer to batteries that can be charged thousands of times, without the necessity for any replacement.

The primary idea of the research was to build a solid-state battery by displacing the traditional liquid in the lithium batteries including a very thick electrolyte gel, according to their study written in the journal ACS Energy Letters. They also replaced the lithium in the batteries with gold nanowires for electric storage.

A lead author of the paper, Reginald Penner said :

We started to cycle the devices, and then realized that they weren’t going to die. We don’t understand the mechanism of that yet.

The Irvine battery technology utilizes a gold nanowire, no thicker than a bacterium, covered in manganese oxide and then shielded by a layer of electrolyte gel. The gel combines with the metal oxide covered to bypass corrosion. The larger the wire, the more surface area, and the more charge it can carry.

Penner said:

[The gel] does more than just hold the wire together. It actually seems to make the metal oxide softer and more fracture-resistant. It increases the fracture toughness of this metal oxide that is doing the charge storage

The UCI nanobattery was examined in test circumstances over a three month period, offering a “94-96% average Coulombic efficiency,” according to the researchers. No need of space or power and fracturing of any nanowires was reported by the test.

UCI doctoral applicant Mya Le Thai was the one who made the incidental discovery a fact when she painted a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide, then used a, “Plexiglas-like,” electrolyte gel. These nanowires normally degrade after short use, as their fragility makes them crack as charge and discharge loads. Still, when the researchers at UCI examined Mya’s versions, they saw they were nearly fully intact and available for further use.

Penner said:

Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it. She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most,

The researchers assume that the gel lets the metal oxide in the battery to plasticize, giving its nanowires new-found versatility and durability to the battery.

Thai said:

The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option. This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.

If newly discovered technology is utilized to present consumer electronics, it can build a battery that can last 400 times larger than the common lithium batteries. However, the UCI nano battery is noiseless in its development stage, and it will be noiseless be a long time before it is made commercially accessible. However, once it is free, it could make the main distinction between computers, smartphones, and appliances in the market in terms of giving power to the devices.

The study was directed in coordination with the Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of Maryland, with funding from the Basic Energy Sciences division of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Adeel Younas
Editor-in-Chief at TechWafer (previously The Tech) an Entrepreneur, Blogger, Developer, and Freelancer.

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