When we think about the changes that are to come, about these new technologies that will transform our world, perhaps we are not too aware of how much we depend on the batteries of the future, what they will be like, and how they will evolve. What use is a state-of-the-art mobile phone, a large solar farm, or the best electric car without significantly better batteries?
Parallel to the great advances, batteries have become the epicenter of the technological revolution. These are the keys to the batteries to come.
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The five keys to the Batteries of the Future
This is surely one of the big problems that need to be solved. Batteries, especially those of mobile phones, degrade at high speed due to the use to which we put them. Part of its components can be recycled, but that is far from popular today. Future batteries must be made from materials that are less harmful to the environment.
NASA is currently researching graphene for more efficient car batteries. In fact, they are lighter and present a lower risk of flammability. Materials such as manganese, sodium, silicon, or vanadium are also being investigated. The question is that lithium will begin to become scarce, and this is a great handicap that must be addressed.
Nanotechnology will be present
Nanotechnology, among many other fields, covers creating new materials (or modifying existing ones on an atomic scale to add or remove molecules that improve them). Therefore, this science may definitely influence the batteries of the future.
Although with mobile phones, there are options to recharge in multiple places when we are away from home, the issue of cars is more tricky. On the one hand, charging points are still scarce. On the other hand, electric car batteries’ autonomy makes it very difficult to invest in sustainable mobility.
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The batteries of the future, particularly those of cars, necessarily need to increase their autonomy. Today they are around 300 kilometers. To make them last longer, with current technology, it is only possible to make them bigger. And this affects the weight of the car, among other things. This is another challenge for researchers.
Undoubtedly, the issue of security is a major issue. Although it is not frequent, there are cases of fires in electric cars. The Tesla brand, for example, has registered several apparently spontaneous combustions. It is due, according to experts, to short circuits. Well, the batteries of the future will necessarily be safer.
Not only for the obvious (avoid risks) but also for issues that concern sustainability: if around 2,500 liters of water can be used to put out a fire in a traditional car, to put out a fire in an electric one ( the Tesla, for example) ten times as much is required.