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Smartphone batteries of the future will last five times longer


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What if smartphones were cheaper and had significantly better battery life? That's the question asked – and answered – by a group of MIT researchers that have developed a revolutionary new lithium ion battery.

Dubbed the 24M cell, it’s a more efficient power supply that promises to have five times the storage capacity compared to its conventional counterpart.

The lithium-ion battery is a brilliant, enabling technology, but its economics are flawed,” explains lead researcher Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang. “It’s prohibitively expensive; it’s cumbersome and inefficient to make; and today’s version is approaching the limits of its cost reductions.”

Chiang was the founder of A123, a battery company that paved the way for cheaper lithium ion batteries before eventually going bankrupt.

There are really only two options to drive down battery manufacturing costs. Either build huge factories for volume production, or try your luck with developing new battery chemistry.

Fortunately, the 24M research group has created a battery that has significant advantages over its conventional lithium ion cousins, as reported by PlanetSave.

For a start, it takes one-fifth of the time to create a 24M cell compared to a standard battery due to the removal of “entire steps” in the manufacturing process.

The research team reckons this simplification means a 24M factory needs just one tenth of the investment that a normal manufacturing plant would need.

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For instance, Tesla is currently spending $5 billion to build a battery factory in Nevada, US. Chiang claims his battery factory would cost just $500 million to produce the same output.

It’s also got the advantage of being environmentally friendly, as the 24M production process is entirely solvent-free and produces cells that are “the most easily recycled” lithium ion batteries ever made.

According to Chiang, the cost of his batteries will hit $85 (£55) per kWh by 2020. That’s in contrast Tesla’s estimated production costs, which are reported to be around $250 (£160) per kWh.

If you’re looking for a phone with a great battery life, our smartphone group test video might be just the thing to help you decide:

Prem Desai

June 29, 2015, 12:30 pm

Let's hope so ..

However, I'm sure manufacturers will find news ways of making the battery last even less eg. Making phones even slimmer of fitting 32 core CPUs ....


June 29, 2015, 1:16 pm

Yes, we are using more and more power of the battery - the screen though is the main culprit, where power efficency isn't anywhere near as good as what's happened with CPUs. If we do hit a point where a resolution is considered more than enough for a phone, manufacturers might start to look at efficency.

And I'll believe new battery tech when it's in a device.


June 29, 2015, 3:36 pm

Yes, Chiang's making all the right noises but seemingly without any real-world evidence to back him up. And how many times do we read about new battery tech on TR that's always 5-10 years in the future, that never seems to come to fruition.

As far as power efficiency of screens, it seems Samsung are continuing to decrease the power requirements of the AMOLED screens used in their smartphones:

Prem Desai

June 29, 2015, 4:32 pm

You're quite right.

I think we have reached the screen resolution that is more than enough - it's 1080 (HD). On a mobile handheld device, any more is not really useful or appreciated. But as manufactureres haven't really got anything else up their sleeve, they keep increasing the resolution and playing the numbers game.

A little bit like the mega-pixels in cameras game.

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