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These liquid batteries would be safer than lithium-ion—and last longer, too

This would have saved Samsung a lot of headaches.

Feb 14, 2017, 8:55 am*

Tech

Phillip Tracy 

Phillip Tracy

Harvard researchers created a longer lasting battery, so we can stop complaining about how quickly our smartphones and laptops lose power.

Current lithium-ion solutions lose their charge after just a few years. Apple even has a feature built into its laptops that tells you how many power cycles the battery has been through and the maximum number of cycles each device can consume. Newer MacBook Pros are recommended for 1000 charges before needing a new battery, whereas laptops from 2008 and before will only last 300 charges, for example.

The newly developed battery out of Harvard would lose only 1 percent of its capacity for every 1,000 cycles, which means you probably won’t notice any significant decrease in battery life for decades. The researchers accomplished this feat by modifying two molecules in the electrolytes—ferrocene and viologen—to make them soluble in water.

The result is a battery that not only lasts longer, but one that could have saved Samsung a lot of headache from its Galaxy Note 7 catastrophe and wouldn’t have burnt a hole in this teen’s couch. The water-based solution is also not as toxic, so its e-waste should theoretically have much less of an impact on the environment.

The newly developed flow battery is a great solution for storing solar energy. Long-term storage like Tesla’s solar-based rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs would be able to store energy for longer periods without seeing depreciation. This could lead to lower costs and expanded usage of solar energy worldwide.

There is currently no timeline for making the new batteries available on the market.

H/T Engadget 

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*First Published: Feb 14, 2017, 8:52 am