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The future of battery technology

Sir James Dyson has made a $15m bet on a new “solid-state” battery technology from Sakti3, but what is it, and what other research is being done to give our smartphones and other gadgets a longer working life?

Sir James Dyson made his first investment outside his eponymous company this week, ploughing $15m into a company called Sakti3 whose solid-state technology promises cheaper and more energy-dense batteries.

The idea being that the cash will help bring the company’s creation outside the lab and to commercial reality – in Dyson products.

But what is a solid-state battery, and what other technologies are being developed to give smartphones, electric cars and cordless vacuum cleaners a longer life? We look at some of the most promising research today.

Solid-state batteries

A battery is composed of electrodes and an electrolyte. Electrodes were traditionally metal conductors, and the electrolyte some kind of fluid. As the name suggests, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte.

This eliminates any problems with leakage and also allows them to be miniaturised. This is the technology being worked on by Sakti3 – a University of Michigan spin-off – but they are yet to commercialise it. The tricky bit is inventing a decent manufacturing process, rather than developing the science – the concept is well established but they’re not easy to make cheaply.

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Source: The Telegraph

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