Smartphones using lithium-air batteries could last a week per charge
Dr Kyeongjae Cho and his team of researchers based at Dallas University have discovered a new catalyst for lithium-air batteries.
This new discovery can theoretically enhance a batteries capacity by up to ten times with batteries lasting five times longer than present day fuel-cells.
Interestingly these new batteries breath oxygen which in turn powers chemical reactions inside the battery to produce chemical energy.
The new type of battery would be a lot smaller, and more efficient than current day batteries as the lithium-air fuel cells woudn't need to store an oxidiser like current ithium-ion batteries do. According to Dr Cho this new power source could offer a greater energy density of up to ten times that of lithium-ion, making them comparable to gasoline in terms of output.
It isn't just smartphones that could benefit from the new type of battery with electric cars being an obvious candidate. The new cells are estimated to be one fifth of the weight and one fifth of the cost of standard batteries today. An electric car should be able to cover a 400 mile range off a single charge.
However it's too early to get excited about, as this is only a research breakthrough it could be another ten years until we see lithium-air batteries in smartphones and cars.
Dr Cho has commented on the breakthrough saying, "This is a major step, hopefully it will revitalise the interest in lithium-air battery research, creating momentum that can make this practical, rather than just an academic research study."