Scientists Improve Efficiency Of Lithium Ion Batteries

November 17th, 2011 BY VeganVerve | No Comments
cell phones

As the importance of environmental concern has risen in recent decades, the focus is often large scale. This is exhibited in attempting to reduce climate change on national levels, preventing ecosystem decay, reducing deforestation globally and so forth. But individual impact plays a vital role as well, especially in energy consumption.

The developed nations of the world consume the most energy and therefore have the highest per individual, or per capita, emissions. Nations such as the United States top the list when it comes to per capita emissions due to the increased ability of citizens to access and afford the necessary components of life, such as heating, and the niceties, such as electronics. This is not the case for most individuals in the developing world, however, as economies grow so do emissions.

Which is why it is vital for nations, companies and individuals to take into consideration energy consumption. This includes considering major energy consumers, such as heating and cooling, to even low level energy consumers which simply add up after a year of use, such as charging cell phones and laptops. Now scientists from Northwestern University believe they have come up with a way to reduce energy consumption when it comes to charging everyday tech gadgets.

The scientists have altered traditional lithium ion batteries in order to make them more efficient in terms of charging more quickly and holding a charge longer. Led by Dr. Harold Kung, the scientists have created lithium ion batteries which are capable of holding a greater number of lithium ions while also increasing their speed. The team swapped traditional silicon sheets for small clusters of silicon in order to free space for increased lithium ions. This allows for increased movement and increased ions.

The changes made to the lithium ion batteries allow phone and laptop batteries to be charged ten times faster and to retain a charge for significantly longer. The scientists found that a cell phone battery can charge in only fifteen minutes and keep a charge for a week, which is significantly longer than traditional lithium ion batteries.

After using the new lithium ion batteries 150 times, the speed of charge and retention of the charge reduces. The scientists found that after 150 uses it goes from ten times greater than current lithium ion batteries to only five times greater. However, with the extended use of each charge it will take considerably more time to reach the 150 mark than with traditional batteries. Overall, the use of such batteries would make a dent in per capita emissions when it comes to electronics. The scientists expect the batteries to be on the market in the next five years.

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