New Flexible Battery Has Multiple Advantages Over Lithium-ion

New Flexible Battery Has Multiple Advantages Over Lithium-ion

by RP Siegel

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Friday, June 6, 2014 - 8:00am



Researchers at Rice University have recently announced a new flexible battery based on nanoporous nickel fluoride. There are several characteristics of this battery that make it interesting, and potentially quite important.

First, that fact that it is flexible means that the range of applications for electrified stuff has just been significantly expanded. That flexibility, combined with its deep storage capacity, was a major achievement for chemist James Tour and his team. According to Tour, that combination was “not easy to do, because materials with such high capacity are usually brittle.” If the battery can conform to the shape of the device, that could allow devices to become smaller and therefore more lightweight. It could also be used in applications that move or flex, such as wearable electronics. Gizmag suggests that this could quickly find a home in smartwatches. How about a bike computer that wraps around the handlebar or devices that can be rolled up when not in use?

The second important characteristic of this battery is its performance. One big issue in the quest to find a perfect battery is the fact that, in most cases, batteries with deep storage properties cannot provide a burst of power when needed without significantly depleting their charge. That is why super-capacitors, or ultra-capacitors, as they’re sometimes called, are beginning to find their way into a number of dynamic applications such as electric vehicles. This battery, which is only about a hundredth of an inch thick, “combines the best qualities of a high-energy battery and a high-powered super-capacitor.”

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Image Credit: Jeff Fitlow, Rice University

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel.

Image Credit: Jeff Fitlow, Rice University.