New cell will double the battery life of smartphones as soon as early next year

Ask the average Joe (or Joanne) on the street which part of his or her smartphone he/she would like to see improved next year, and the answer would indubitably be the battery. So it is good news indeed that a spin-off from MIT, SolidEnergy Systems, has developed a battery that is half the size of the juicer employed by the Apple iPhone 6s.

The new battery will sport a 20% thinner anode than current batteries because of the thin foil used to make it. The electrolyte is a hybrid solid and liquid. with a solid layer wrapped around both the foil and a non-flammable liquid. Since the SolidEnergy battery uses the lithium-metal foil for the anode instead of graphite, it can hold more ions than the standard Lithium-ion cell employed today.

 SoldEnergy Systems' new battery at far right, could provide smartphone users  with twice the battery life that they currently enjoy

So the SolidEnergy cell has twice the energy density of current Lithium-ion batteries, meaning that it can hold the same amount of energy as today’s smartphone batteries, but at half the size. Or, it can match the size of the current batteries and hold twice as much power. And using the non-flammable liquid makes them safer to use than the Li-ion cells, which are a threat to explode when punctured and exposed to oxygen.

“With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium ion battery. Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium ion battery, but now it will last twice as long”-Qichao Hu, Founder, SolidEnergy Systems

Believe it or not, these batteries are ready to go into commercial production. They could be employed by smartphones and wearables as soon as early next year. Handset manufacturers will have a tough decision to make. Do they offer the same battery life on their phones, but open up room inside the devices for new features or to make them thinner? Or do they keep the battery the same size, but give their devices twice the battery life available on current models.

SolidEnergy's battery can open up plenty of real estate inside a smartphone

SolidEnergy’s battery can open up plenty of real estate inside a smartphone

source: PhoneArena