Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, say they have discovered a way to design batteries with potential lifespans of up to 400 years.
Since today's lithium ion batteries have a three-lifespan on average, the availability of smartphones, laptop PCs, and other electronic devices with batteries that can last for centuries would have an obvious positive impact on product lifecycles and environmental waste.
The researchers owe their findings to the discovery of a gel formulation that can protect nanowire circuitry. Previously, nanowire circuitry has been shown to boost energy storage capacity by 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion technology, but is too fragile for commercial use.
The researchers found that nanowires with a manganese dioxide shell and an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel coating achieved electrode cycles of 200,000 times without a loss in capacity.