It’s hard to imagine the future of battery life without the ability to store and recharge electronic devices in a way that doesn’t drain the battery’s efficiency.
It’s also possible to make batteries that are more energy dense and that don’t lose much energy over time.
Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have developed a new battery that can do just that.
Their battery, called Carbon Valence Electrodes (CVE), could help power a wide range of electronics, including the latest wearable devices, and could eventually power a variety of devices from cars to smart watches.
“What makes our battery different is that it can be designed to have a range of different voltage states,” said graduate student Tingting Xie, who led the work.
“It can be used in devices like the heart monitor that uses this device to monitor a patient’s pulse, or it can use it to charge batteries for electric cars.
We are going to make a battery that is very energy dense.”
The team developed CVE by combining two materials: silicon and magnesium.
Both materials are known to hold very high electrical conductivity and high voltages.
However, they also have a low melting point and a high amount of nickel in their cathode, making them very sensitive to heat and acidity.
“We had to figure out how to combine these two materials together, and how to optimize them to make them a better conductor,” Xie said.
“Our process has been very well understood and we have a lot of experience making this type of battery.
The only thing missing is a catalyst, which is difficult to find.”
The CVE team made the electrode by combining silicon carbide (SiC) and magnesium carbide.
It took just five months to develop CVE, Xie said, which allowed the team to start building a prototype in the fall.
The team is now using the materials to make prototypes of several kinds of battery, including ones that use silicon carbides for energy storage.
They are working to make CVE available to researchers to build on top of the battery.
“This is a promising technology, and we think it could have a huge impact on the world of battery technology,” Xie told The Verge.
“As an inventor, I was able to take something that was already well understood by others, and create a better battery that was much more energy-efficient.”
CVE has two primary benefits.
The first is that CVE is lightweight, weighing only about one gram, making it easier to pack in a phone charger and less expensive to make.
The second is that the material is highly conductive, which means it will conduct electricity to power devices.
The researchers are working on making the CVE electrode more conductive and to improve the battery in two ways.
They want to make it more efficient.
“If we can make the electrode more energy efficient, we will have more power in our devices,” Xie explained.
“The more energy we can store in a battery, the more efficient it is.
But if the battery has more charge, the battery will drain more quickly.
And the more power we can use in our device, the faster it can charge.”
This new battery could eventually be used to power smartwatches and other wearable devices.
They envision the electrode being used to store electrical charge and charging the battery for longer.
The electrode is made of an organic material that has a small amount of iron.
By heating and baking it, the iron transforms into a liquid, which can then be used as an electrode in the battery to charge devices.
“There is a lot that can be done with this material, but the most important thing is that you can make a device that works well with the material,” Xie added.
“So, if you want to charge a smartwatch, you can use the Cve material and it will charge the device.
Or if you are interested in making a smart device, you might use the iron oxide and use it as an electrolyte in the device.”
Xie added that the CVD electrode is “still a work in progress” and that the team is working on better processes to make sure the material can be made more conductively.
The CVD material has a number of advantages, including high electrical resistance, high electrical capacity, and very high resistance to heat.
“These are the key things that make this material attractive to a lot more people,” Xie continued.
“That’s why we think CVE could be a good battery.”