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New lithium-sulfur battery could power your phone for 5 days

Smartphone charging
(Image credit: Unsplash (Matt Wojtaś))

Researchers in Australia have developed a new type of lithium-sulfur battery which they claim is capable of powering a smartphone for up to five days. Considering that most phones usually struggle to make it to the end of the day, this would be a huge improvement on our current technology.

The collaborative team headed up by researchers at Monash University are closer to bringing lithium-sulphur battery technology into the commercial market. Prototype battery cells have already been developed in Germany and they’re now looking to perform further tests using electric cars and solar energy grids in 2020.

Lithium-sulfur batteries themselves are nothing new and have shown promise as an energy storage solution as they can theoretically store up to 10 times the energy of equivalent lithium-ion batteries. The drawback has always been their short lifespan, which is what the team at Monash claim to have solved.

The research was published in Science Advances on January 4th, 2020. In this study, the research team have reconfigured the design of sulphur cathodes, allowing them to accommodate higher stress loads without losing overall capacity or performance. Professor Mainak Majumder, a senior scientist at Monash said that this breakthrough could “transform the way phones, cars, computers and solar grids are manufactured in the future.”

This breakthrough comes off the back of last month’s news that IBM Research had developed a new environmentally sustainable type of battery that is completely free of heavy metals such as cobalt and nickel. With so much of our lives revolving around technology these days, it’s vital that our battery technology can keep up with the increasing demand.

It will likely be a few years before this technology makes it into your smartphone, so for now you’ll have to put up with charging your handset every day.