Mobile phones, portable computers and similar devices can give us freedom to work from whatever place we decide. We might be able to stay in the middle of a forest with our smartphone and stay connected with our business if only we had … an adequate power supply. To solve the power problem, we can use some type of extended battery and gain a day or even two away from the mains.
An extended battery has quite a lot of downsides. They are big, so they add some bulk and weight to the device. Some of them have funny shape and make the device look somewhat awkward. But the most serious of all the minuses is the one that the extended battery does not give us as much power as we would like to have. We cannot walk away for a week or so. Two days is the maximum we can squeeze out of them.
A lot of research and efforts have been made recently to increase the performance of all kinds of batteries. Some results have been really promising. The scientists from the University of Leeds have presented a new polymer gel that could be used to create a much more energy efficient battery. Such a “jelly battery” would be also safer, lighter and cheaper. The material is flexible and can be adapted for any shape.
More to that, this technology has already been licensed for commercial use and is being tested by an American company. It gives us a well grounded hope that our mobile device will soon get a nice battery that provides power autonomy for several days without compromising the design.
But that is not the only thing. The research is going on. An extract obtainable from the brown algae has been found to be a good binding material for anodes based on silicon nanoparticles. This discovery used in combination with other improvements can add even more to the capacity of the batteries.
Improving the storage of the electrical power is one of the highest priorities in many countries, and a lot of government money is being directed to the research. Compact high capacity batteries are needed to store the power produced by solar or wind arrays so that it could be used while there is no sun or wind. The findings and similar technologies will obviously be used also in the cell phone and laptop batteries.
But even if it seems to be quite close, it is still future. We need the power today, right here and now. We need to act, we need to stay in touch, we need to run our business and do so many other things. So what we do? The best and the most reassuring way is getting the good old extended battery from a trustworthy manufacturer. For some time still, we will have to put up with the added bulk and weight, and be grateful for one full day without charging.