IBM announces a breakthrough in battery technology

Free from heavy metals and allegedly better than existing batteries, the discovery might make lithium ion unnecessary.

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IBM research has announced a breakthrough in battery technology that is said to make lithium-ion batteries a thing of the past.

The new technology can charge incredibly quickly, is highly flammable and contains no heavy metals, making it much more environmentally friendly than current battery technology.

Complaints about the battery performance are nothing new
: Lithium-ion batteries have long been one of the most frustrating parts of modern technology. They get bad, charge slowly, are prone to exploding and are terrible for the environment.

SEE: 5G smartphones: a cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The new IBM battery is said to eliminate these precise headaches.

IBM is silent about the way its new battery is made, and only says it’s made of “three new and different proprietary materials that have never been registered as combined in a battery.”

According to IBM, the three components can all be extracted from seawater, which means that the environmental damage and humanitarian costs of heavy mining for batteries can be eliminated.

Extracting battery components from seawater also lowers costs, according to IBM, making this new battery not only better for the environment and people, but also potentially cheaper.

How the new IBM battery is stacked with current technology

Environmental friendliness is not the only thing that does well with the new IBM battery. According to IBM, tests of the new battery have proven that they can be optimized to surpass the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries in a number of separate categories, including lower costs, faster charging time, higher power and energy density, strong energy efficiency and low flammability. “

The faster charging time that IBM mentioned is one of the highlights of his report on this battery breakthrough: it is said that he can reach an 80% charge in just five minutes, without compromising on the discharge capacity.

In addition to that impressive charging speed, there are a number of other performance improvements, IBM said:

  • It can reach a power density of more than 10,000 watts per liter;
  • It can reach an energy density of more than 800 watt-hours per liter, which is comparable to modern lithium-ion batteries;
  • It has an energy efficiency (defined by IBM as “the ratio of the energy to discharge the battery to the energy to charge the battery”) of more than 90%.

IBM states that the battery can be configured in a number of different ways, making it ideal for multiple use, from new energy infrastructure to electric vehicles.

Although IBM has not revealed whether its new battery technology has gone beyond the testing phase, its breakthrough blog post uses promising language about its potential applications as a replacement for lithium ions.

It is easy to get excited about breakthroughs in battery technology, especially if you are often affected by the poor life of today’s batteries. But do not let yourself be: IBM may sound optimistic about the breakthrough, but these kinds of stories are nothing new.

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