New Lithium-ion Battery Technology Recharges 1000x Faster, Jumpstart Your Car

In the world of consumer technology, innovation is moving ahead at a breakneck pace. But there's one area in particular that's struggling mightily: batteries. We just can't seem to keep up with power demands, and as newer and faster gizmos come out, it's requiring an awful lot of energy to keep them lit and online through all hours of the day. So, if we can't make batteries any better, stronger or longer-lasting in the short term, how about making them recharge 1000 times faster?

That's the idea put forth by a new project out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These new microbatteries are said to "out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics." It's hardly a surprise that we may end up with big results by going small. William P. King, the Bliss Professor of mechanical science and engineering, is heading up the research. The new microbatteries offer both power and energy, and by tweaking the structure a bit, the researchers can tune them over a wide range on the power-versus-energy scale.

“This is a whole new way to think about batteries,” King said. “A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it.” With so much power, the batteries could enable sensors or radio signals that broadcast 30 times farther, or devices 30 times smaller. The batteries are rechargeable and can charge 1,000 times faster than competing technologies – imagine juicing up a credit-card-thin phone in less than a second. In addition to consumer electronics, medical devices, lasers, sensors and other applications could see leaps forward in technology with such power sources available.

Looks the future of batteries may be here sooner than we'd imagined. Can't say we're complaining about that notion!