New silicon tech makes batteries lighter, more powerful

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have created an inexpensive silicon battery technology said to increase both the life span and performance of lithium-ion batteries. The work was done by chemical engineering professor Zhongwei Chen, as well as a team of grad students. Ultimately, the creation could usher in batteries that are both smaller and longer lasting than present batteries, improving their use in everything from electric vehicles to everyday gadgets.

According to the university, the new technology could boost energy density between 40% and 60%, meaning things like smartwatches and smartphones would last longer on a charge. Furthermore, the tech is said to be "environmentally safe", and could enable an electric vehicle travel up to 310 miles per charge, while also making the cars lighter weight.

This is made possible by swapping out the typical graphite anodes in favor of silicon anodes with a greater capacity for lithium. Professor Chen said, in describing the change, "graphite is slowly becoming a performance bottleneck because of the limited amount of energy that is can store."

Extensive work is being done by various research collectives and companies to improve battery technology. Samsung recently introduced two of its own developments, called Stripe and Band, that feature a slim and lightweight design for use in wearable applications. Check out the timeline below for related news!

SOURCE: University of Waterloo