Does size really matter? Not really, but in batteries and machinery – oh yes they do.
Batteries have existed ever since the dawn of electricity itself. We all know what they are and how many forms/sizes they have nowadays. A long time ago, a small-sized battery was as large as the image above, but thanks to evolution in technology, the size has been decreasing at a pretty rapid pace… should be pretty obvious by the sheer size of our cell phones. What’s different about the source article is the actual miniaturization of big-boxed (or bulky) battery packs and how such a-once-thought-impossible-concept is being achieved.
Boulder Ionics is the start-up firm behind this goal. They’ve created a new electrolyte (liquid that is a good conductor of electricity) made of ionic liquids (liquid salt) that does not evaporate, can be squeezed into any size, reducing chemical impurities, and is resistant to fire.
Apparently the cost to manufacture these ionic liquids is quite a lot, but the company says they’ve figured out a way for the process to be a lot more efficient than industry standards. Their strategy is to have a continuous production line for their ionic liquids (6 minutes per batch) compared to conventional liquid production, which takes a few days. A typical ‘production facility’ can be as small as a typical living room which can also provide HUGE savings to a company which doesnt want heavy costs for labor, rent, and misc factory costs. The company has also figured out a way for battery manufacturers to use and replace liquids in their current inventory. It will be as simple as a matter of replacing the liquid within the batteries without irregularity or incompatibility.
Based on their findings, their electrolytes will have the ability to store twice as much energy than ‘regular liquids’ AND conserve in large ultracapacitors (imagine a small sized device with high energy density/storage). This breakthrough could very well allow us to use batteries the size of a flashlight (if compared with a car battery). On top of the improved size, they’ve been able to store and re-store electric current 10x more than conventional car batteries.
The only problem that battery manufacturers will face is the damn electrodes. Electrodes are conductors that help make ‘electric communication’ possible with a metal and non-metal surface. And these things are small but cost quite a lot due to the complexity of their function. Other than that – the idea seems promising.
Source: Technology Review