The Secret to Longer Battery Life May be in a New Form of Glass

By Gerald Lynch on at

Every time you give a little excited squeal at a high-tech spec sheet, a lithium-ion battery somewhere in the world sheds a single tear. While our gadgets' screens and processors get more advanced, battery technology seems to crawl along at a snail's pace. But a new discovery by scientists at ETH Zurich may offer a breakthrough to longer battery life for our phones, tablets, laptops and even electric cars.

Semih Afyon and Reinhard Nesper have lead a research team examining vanadate-borate glass for the past few years. Making use of vanadium-based compounds, which have capacious power storing properties, they added borate compounds to stabilise the vanadium crystals (which become unstable by themselves after just a few charge cycles). The resulting glass could safely be used in rechargeable batteries, theoretically doubling smartphone battery life and letting electric cars go 1.5 times further than standard batteries allow.

However, with the findings still in an infant state, it may be 10 to 20 years before the tech industry looks to work the research into battery technology. By which point we'll probably need portable nuclear reactors to power the 64K screens strapped to our faces. [ETH Zurich via Scientific Reports via Gizmag]