back to article Batteries that don't burn at the drop of a Galaxy Note 7? We're listening

Sydney University boffins reckon they've got a handle on how to stop batteries catching fire: quit using lithium ions. Apart from being the cheapest current technology with enough energy density to power your flaming hot Galaxy Note 7, fidget spinner, or laptop, Li-ion batteries' other notable characteristic is volatility. …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

    I saw something on PBS about it. Dude is like 90 years old and still comes into the lab every day. The new one can be punctured while running and it continues to work. Doesn't have any way to catch fire (well maybe it will if you put it in a fire) and lasts many more charging cycles. He was in the process of working out how to manufacture it in volume and was then going to license the technology.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

      Yeah, and Beyond 2000 had a segment about holographic crystal storage...25 years ago. IOW, I'll believe it once it actually enters the market.

      As for the zinc-air battery, one characteristic was left out of the article: how rapidly can it charge and discharge, in case it's needed for high-draw applications?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

        " 60 discharging/charging cycles of 120 hours"

        I read that as 60 cycles of 120 hours EACH. Which would mean this battery tech as it stands is useless.

      2. 's water music Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

        IOW, I'll believe it once it actually enters the market.

        No need, you can already invest in my kickstarter for a cold-fusion powered smart phone...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

          There's some people round here who've managed to find a way to harness the energy of sound waves to power their mobile phones. At least I think they have. It's the only reason I can think of for them to shout so frickin' loud when on a call.

      3. Haku

        Re: holographic crystal storage...

        I'm all for the holographic crystal storage in the future, totally 100%, but I reeeeaaally don't want to have to wear this* to get the benefits of such a storage medium.

        .

        * don't click the link, seriously.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: holographic crystal storage...

          don't click the link, seriously

          You're new here, aren't you? (To Earth, I mean.)

          1. Haku

            Re: holographic crystal storage...

            @Def

            Take me to your leader, no not the orange one with the guinea pig toupe.

        2. Scroticus Canis

          Re: holographic crystal storage...

          Fail to see the link between Sean Conery in Zardoz and holographic crystal storage. Pretty crap film but at least Charlotte Rampling was as hot as a Note 7 back then.

      4. Mage Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

        I think another problem is that Zinc Air cells self discharge?

        The ones used in hearing aids (buttons) and electric fencers (6 off Flag sized cells) have seals that you peel off to put them into service. I never heard of rechargeable versions before, but actually Carbon - Zinc have a very limited recharge (and a very small trickle reduces self discharge) and Alkaline cells can be recharged quite a lot if not discharged more than a third.

        The internal resistance of Zinc Air is high compared to Zinc Carbon, which is far worse than Alkaline, which is far worse than NiCd / NiMH / Lithium rechargeable.

    2. Norman Nescio Silver badge
      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

        Yes but....

        Will it still be 5-10 years away from mainstream use in 5-10 years time, like so many bits of magical technology...?

        Or will we still be using Lithium based batteries (there are several different sorts)?

        The increasing use of Lithium based batteries with large (>40KWh) in cars is a cause for concern. There have been several examples of Tesla's and other EV having fires. I drive an EV and am satisfied that at the moment, it is less of a risk that a tank full of Petrol. but when 100KWh batteries become the norm? That is a different matter.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

          Will it still be 5-10 years away from mainstream use in 5-10 years time, like so many bits of magical technology...?Will it still be 5-10 years away from mainstream use in 5-10 years time, like so many bits of magical technology...?

          Well, you might think so. But the market for batteries is about to get a whole lot bigger. It's expected that this year on next the installed capacity for cars will overtake the installed capacity for all other devices since Li-Ion batteries were invented.

          This is a big deal. While we might think that the electronics market is big, the car industry is huge and batteries are more important to cars than they are, say, to phone makers. The amount spent on battery technology is about to go through the roof (government subsidies will no doubt also be available). This will allow for both gradual improvements and new approaches. FWIW improving fire resistance for Li-Ion is already possible. It adds a bit of weight but this isn't a problem for car batteries.

          1. 100113.1537

            Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

            "It adds a bit of weight but this isn't a problem for car batteries."

            Wrong. Adding weight is the kiss of death to batteries if they are going to be used for transport.

            The dead weight of the battery (especially when it has no charge left and still weighs the same) is why battery powered vehicles still cannot compete on range and performance. Extra weight reduces range even further.

            The energy density of a tank full of gasoline is an order of magnitude greater than any current battery technology. Batteries are getting better, but these are incremental improvements when what is needed is a game-changing breakthrough in battery chemistry. I had high hopes of fuel cells powered by methanol, but this doesn't seem to have got anywhere.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

              Wrong. Adding weight is the kiss of death to batteries if they are going to be used for transport.

              Not for motor vehicles, apart from perhaps Formula 1. All the weight that has been saved due to using aluminium in the chassis and engine has been replaced by safety features and creature comforts. Then there are increasingly fat fuckers actually sitting in the car.

              Energy density is critical to battery powered cars but this has more to do with how much space is available. For the current crop of vehicles the extra weight has been more than compensated for by incremental improvements in energy density. For the vast majority of journeys range is now more than good enough: charging is the bottle neck.

              Haulage might be another thing altogether but the combination of an electric drive train and driverless vehicles could be compelling for a lot of freight journeys.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                To reply to a few concerns

                First, the "this may take a long time / never appear" worry: This guy invented the lithium ion batteries we use in billions of devices around the world today! He's not some nobody who needs to hype a half finished may-never-work technology to get grant funding. He probably wouldn't want to make it public unless he thought it was almost ready, he's 94 years old so he won't want to be remembered for hyping a big flop as his last act. So I think this is a rather baseless concern.

                Second, the "you will need super thick wires to charge a car at the speed this is capable of" worry: Just because you can charge a car from dead battery to 100% in X minutes, doesn't mean you need to design your systems to actually do so. Certainly not at home, where you would just 'top up' nightly.

                There's several ways to handle the desire for fast charge on a long trip. One, if you have enough battery for say 1000 miles, just assume no one will drive longer than that in a single day and will have plenty of time to charge overnight. Two, don't charge a car's batteries at the service station, swap them. Three, the grid can charge some jumbo sized underground batteries at the service station, which when you drive over them 'plugs in' from below with really thick conductors and charges your car very quickly. The primary limitation then becomes how big the grid connection to the service station is - i.e. how much power it can draw to charge the jumbo storage batteries in 24 hours versus how much power it needs to push out to charge all the cars that arrive.

                1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

                  Re: To reply to a few concerns

                  Some good points - I suspect battery-swapping would be the neatest approach. It's scaleable, and basically cheap. Fundamentally people would pay a deposit on the battery, and then buy a 'charge'. Like buying gas bottles (or, from what my Dad told me, what people did with the old lead-acid in glass batteries that powered radios in the 40s). Infrastructure is simple - a lorry arrives to pick up and drop off batteries. A small petrol station wouldn't need many, a motorway service station would need lots. No need for major new infrastructure overnight.

                  I'm not sure about the jumbo accumulator idea though. It would need to be stonking! At least the one half-way up the M6. Yes, that could then be on a lower-power feed to keep it topped up steadily during the day and overnight, but you're still having to move a lot of electrons to recharge a couple of thousand cars in a day, and that needs the mega infrastructure.

                  So, all we need now is an improved battery chemistry, and some universal standards on how big they have to be and how they connect to the vehicle. I'll start a company now!

            2. oldfartuk

              Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

              Indeed, Alcubierre drives have the same problem. As you approach the speed of light the weight of the fuel tends to infinity. On a car, its the price of the fuel that rises exponentially over time.

      2. Def Silver badge

        Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

        Specifically, this is the exciting part of the Goodenough/Braga announcement:

        The researchers demonstrated that their new battery cells have at least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, so a higher energy density means that a car can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also allows for a greater number of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, as well as a faster rate of recharge (minutes rather than hours).

        Emphasis is mine.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

          @Def

          It's all very interesting and I can't wait for some really good battery technology to come along. But there is one wee problemette with car batteries. Overnight trickle feed, fine. But assume we have car batteries with 3 times the capacity of present ones (i.e. about 120kWh, enough for about 300-400 miles, still less than a tank of petrol). And, to make them useful, a capability for a full charge in say, 15 mins. (Still slower than filling with petrol). That means you'll need a feed that supplies about 500kW. (Which will take some decent insulation around the wires) That's the equivalent of the supply for about 20 average houses. So a single 'petrol station' with 12 'pumps' will need a feed equivalent to a housing estate. Do we have that infrastructure yet? No. Can we afford to build that infrastructure? Dunno, but someone needs to start building this in to their calculations for our wonderful, leccy-vehicle future.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

            (i.e. about 120kWh, enough for about 300-400 miles, still less than a tank of petrol)

            Top end Teslas currently have 100kWh batteries with a range of around 350+ miles. Sodium glass should give us 300kWh batteries with a range of 1100+ miles, which is way more than I get with my Qashcow today.

            And while I don't know for sure, I'm assuming the charge times are literally a few minutes, not 15. I read a paper a while back that explained why existing batteries currently take so long to charge (and it explained how to solve it too - something to do with the physical layout and design of the battery internals iirc). If the design of these new batteries already reduce charge times, I see no reason to doubt incorporating other advances couldn't reduce them even further.

            1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

              @Def

              Useful info. My figures were based on "cheapo"(!) leccy cars, not Tesla, but the numbers work out about the same.

              The idea of 300kWh batteries is great, but makes my point even more. If the battery chemistry allows them to slurp up 300kWh in 'a few minutes' we're now looking at a power feed that can supply say 20 x 300kW per hour = 6MW. How thick does the insulation on that have to be? Major pylons marching to every 'petrol' station. And even an overnight charge outside the hotel/house would need to provide about 40kW (150 amps?) - not something you'll get from a 13 amp plug.

              The point I'm making is that it doesn't matter how good the battery technology gets (well, to an extent, it does of course), but the infrastructure to support getting 500 or 1000 miles worth of leccy into a vehicle is still way over the horizon. And we're just talking cars here. Start thinking about the needs for an electric light goods vehicle that's doing a few hundred miles on a delivery round. And has anyone done any sums on switching HGVs to electric from diesel?

          2. Jtom

            Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

            I suspect they have already considered this problem, and have solved it. First, like the UK, you establish a date when all internal combustion cars are banned. Get them all off the road and only allow EVs. Next, raise the price of an electric 're-fuel' to about £500 per complete charge. Of course only the top 1% would even consider that. So 99% of the people are using mass transport, sans cars, while the 1% drive in personal vehicles on roads that are now free of traffic. The existing electrical grid could handle that.

            As you scream and curse at your carless life, just remember, you are doing it for the children. Their future will be 0.001 degree cooler, on average.

            1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

              @JTom

              Your paranoia is showing...not that I'm saying you're wrong mind!

              People move around far, far too much these days, "soul travels at the speed of a trotting camel" etc. Maybe we should go back to the good old days (i.e. pre-Brexit, well, quite a long way pre-Brexit*) when most people were serfs who were tied to the land and their place of residence. Unlikely many of them ever travelled beyond the next village. If you can't walk it in a day, stay at home and use Skype.

              [*] Actually not entirely true, considerable parts of France were actually ruled by the English Crown at the time.

          3. Chris 239

            Re: The inventor of Li-ion batteries already has the replacement ready

            @Pen-y-gors

            "(Which will take some decent insulation around the wires) "

            Not really. Amount of insulation is not directly related to power, insulation required to cover voltage and the thickness of insulation required for any sensible voltage is not really that much.

            More likley it will require thicker "wires" (calling them wires is not really approrieate : they are/will be hulcking great lumps of copper cable)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lithium batteries are last century's technology

    They're quite competent in powering ordinary wrist watches, children's toys and our motherboards, but smartphones require something much better.

    This is especially more pertinent when we are at the cusp of VR/AR technology becoming mainstream. When streaming videos and video chats are becoming more common. 8 hours or one day of use just wouldn't cut it anymore.

    Some people say we are slaves to smartphones. I say we are greater slaves to charging their batteries, keeping a vigilant eye on the battery percentage indicator, coming up with feeble methods to compensate for the constraint: quick charge, wireless charging, power-saving mode, power banks, charging stations in public places etc.

    Not too long ago Nokia 2G candybar phones could last an entire month on standby with a lithium-cadmium battery. Somehow, during the transition to smartphones, we're conditioned to accept the drastically reduced battery life as the new normal.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

      The problem is that we're demanding much more of our devices. They're no longer just phones. They're lifelines, on-the-spot lookup devices and portable web browsers and so on.

      Our greatest enemy, as it turns out, is just good old fashioned physics. Why are lithium-based batteries so volatile? Because we ask so much of them. Can you think of anything else that can store 3+ Ah of energy, be able to discharge and recharge repeatedly and rapidly, ALL in a physical shape about the size of half a bar of Hershey's (the shape, not the taste)? And since slim sells, no one wants a fatter battery. Live dangerously as long as it's skinny.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        "...half a bar of Hershey's (the shape, not the taste)"

        Citation required.

        8^)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        "Our greatest enemy, as it turns out, is just good old fashioned physics. "

        Our greatest enemy, as it turns out, is just good old FOMO. The constant need to to feel wanted, needed and appreciated. We feel this strange urge to check the work phones on holiday, check Facebook to see what someone else has posted and to retaliate with a "look at me, I'm still important" post.

        Guess, what, if you don't post on Facebook and have it checking every thirty seconds; if you don't feel the need to post a review of evey fucking sandwich you eat; if you don't feel you need to see whats happening on the news every minute or to see what some famous for being famous c'leb has posted; if you don't actually give a flying fuck if you I've left your phone at home on the way to the pub, then and only then will you find you battery lasts way more than 1/2 a day.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

          "Our greatest enemy, as it turns out, is just good old FOMO."

          You can't fix FOMO since you also can't fix Stupid. And people will sooner declare war on their country than on their vices (See Prohibition). So if you can't fix the people, you'll have to work around them. They want slim batteries they can use all day. Physics is getting in the way of that.

          1. ITS Retired

            Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

            "They want slim batteries they can use all day."

            Actually we are being told that is what we want. The protective case on my smart phone more than doubles the thickness of the phone and I like it that way, because it is much easier to hold on to.

            If they would increase the thickness of the phone a bit, then the need for a protective case would be lessened because the phone would also be more fold resistant. Also the protection could be built in, instead of added on at extra cost.

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

            Physics is getting in the way of that.

            I guess one needs to talk to some politicians about repealing the laws of physics then. Seems there ought to be a few willing to do this.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FOMO

          Actually has a better name nophobia (IIRC). There is a very good article on it in todays 'I'.

          Taking a phone away from a millenial is .... just don't go there.

          1. Ucalegon
            Headmaster

            Re: FOMO

            Nophobia is close but it's Nomophobia.

            And, yes, I have to remove cellular devices from 11 to 19 year olds on a regular basis. It's easier to get an honest answer as to why they've no homework to submit. Sad times.

          2. hmv Bronze badge

            Re: FOMO

            Isn't that "Nomophobia"?

            Nophobia sounds more like a phobia of saying No. It's rampantly infectious amongst management :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        ... "Can you think of anything else that can store 3+ Ah of energy"....

        Yes a much smaller zinc-air battery. According to a quick google the energy density in zinc air is much better (which is why they have some specialised military applications too).

        Where they are not as good is the weight of battery needed for a specific power output. This makes them good for smart phones where the charge is used up over a day but bad for electric cars where the entire charge is used over a few hours.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

          That's why I noted the OTHER two qualifications: compact AND high-draw. As you said, zinc air can't do both at the same time. High power draw requires too heavy a battery.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

            Can't you just half the size and double the number of cells to increase output?

            Or does the overhead of the cell casing become too much very quickly?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

              Halves capacity too, roughly.

              1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

                Two half sized cells would have the same capacity and double the output.

                Obviously there's overhead such as the size of the casing, annode and cathode, so you it wouldn't actually be the same capacity, but surely it wouldn't be roughly half?

                1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                  Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

                  "Two half sized cells would have the same capacity and double the output."

                  You must be a physicist rather than an engineer. How's the milk from that spherical cow?

            2. Mage Silver badge

              Re: half the size and double the number of cells to increase output?

              Can't you just half the size and double the number of cells to increase output?

              NO!

              It does double the terminal voltage. However maximum current draw is slightly less than half and capacity is slightly less.

              "Slightly less"? Due to extra packaging, terminals, monitoring and wiring compared to a single or half as many cells. This why phones use one cell. The reason for multiple cells in laptops is more complex. Large tablets may use two cells because of the need to be thin which probably sets an upper limit on cell size/capacity.

              Current draw is limited by internal resistance, related to electrode area and chemistry.

              Capacity is set by chemistry and cell volume (= total volume of multiple cell battery)

              Voltage is set by chemistry and number of cells.

        2. itzman
          Holmes

          Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

          Now look at lithium air..

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

            "Now look at lithium air.."

            Still in the vaporware stage much like holographic crystal storage. I'll believe it once they can actually sell a product.

      4. James Cooke

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        I think I'd prefer the taste of the battery to a Hersheys

      5. Dan White

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        I would be more than happy to have a phone that was half as thick again if it meant I could genuinely get more than a days use out of it without charger panic.

      6. The First Dave Silver badge

        Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

        "no one wants a fatter battery"

        Citation very much needed for that - everyone wants better battery life, its just not a choice you can actually make - there is no iPhone 1Ah vs iPhone 3Ah, (or for any other specific brand)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

          If everyone wanted better battery like, why aren't many people going back to fat feature phones, then, except in the Third World? Plus look at the trend in smartphones including the iPhone: slimmer and slimmer until we've hit a physical wall (mostly from the cameras). If there really was a demand for fatter phones, you would think someone would've sold one by now and made a killing.

          1. D@v3

            Re: why aren't many people going back to fat feature phones?

            Because people don't want 'feature' phones, they would rather have a slim, poor battery smartphone, than a phone that lasts a week that does 'nothing' (which is why the battery lasts so long)

            "If there really was a demand for fatter phones, you would think someone would've sold one by now and made a killing."

            Can't really argue with you on that one, but, the argument that people are buying slimmer and slimmer phones, is because they are they only ones on the market. I think (and i expect there are many others here who would think the same, IF someone did make a thicker phone, with a double sized battery, they may very well make a killing, but for some reason or another, no one is.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: why aren't many people going back to fat feature phones?

              "Can't really argue with you on that one, but, the argument that people are buying slimmer and slimmer phones, is because they are they only ones on the market. I think (and i expect there are many others here who would think the same, IF someone did make a thicker phone, with a double sized battery, they may very well make a killing, but for some reason or another, no one is."

              That smacks of a circular question: "Are people not buying fat phones because they're not being made, or are fat phones not being made because people won't buy them?" Businessmen, especially upstarts, generally aren't stupid. This is Econ 101 stuff here. An untapped market usually doesn't stay that way for long. Especially if you're an upstart looking to get your foot in the door.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some people say we are slaves to smartphones...

      Not me. I'm slave to the rhythm.

      1. Jedit

        "Not me. I'm slave to the rhythm."

        Speak for yourself. I'd rather be a slave to love.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

      "Somehow, during the transition to smartphones, we're conditioned to accept the drastically reduced battery life as the new normal."

      Is it reduced battery life or increased power requirements? Same result, but the way you say it can determine the cause, and possibly the action that needs to be taken, ie do we need better batteries or better phones? (or fewer always-on, always connected to the net apps)

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

      This is especially more pertinent when we are at the cusp of VR/AR technology becoming mainstream.

      Oh goody! Do wake me when it happens.

    5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

      When streaming videos and video chats are becoming more common. 8 hours or one day of use just wouldn't cut it anymore.

      If we end up with a society where an appreciable proportion of the population are watching streaming video or plugged in to some VR system for more than 8 hours every day, then it's time to give them some serious sedation and just let them starve to death without noticing.

    6. ilmari

      Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

      There are phones with large batteries available. Hardly anyone buys them. Thus, battery capacity stays low on most other models. What's the point making phone with big battery when everyone is fine with 8hour life?

    7. DougS Silver badge

      No one NEEDS more than one day's battery life from their phone

      You have to be the king of lazy to think it is too big of an imposition to charge your phone overnight. If you really need more battery life, there are plenty of cases made that have batteries built in so if you charge that as needed you can have effectively unlimited battery life if you think you must have it.

      Not that anyone would refuse an advance that gave their phone a month of battery life, but it just doesn't matter in the real world. Whatever you do, there's a hard limit on how much power a phone can actually use at once - it can dissipate a limited amount of heat so there really isn't any way to make phones that use more power than today's do.

  3. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Graphene

    Plenty of applications for the unobetnium as I see.

    Yes, you can also make amazing lithium batteries with it, but it is still too expensive...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always find it helpful to think, in these circumstances: "just what would Apple do here?"

    1. Ralphe Neill

      Probably just nick an idea from Samsung!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Probably just nick an idea from Samsung!

        Then they'd (Apple that is) would make it work a lot better so that Samsung can nick it back and make more money on it...

        That sounds about right I think.

        1) Think of an idea, rush it through some development and into production. File a few patents for good measure

        2) Let someone else steal it, spend a few $B on making it actually work

        3) Then Steal it back and make a lot more money from it saving all the intermediate development work that was done by someone else.

        4) Safeguard the 'theft' of it back by threatening to sue over the very broad patents that were granted in step 1

        5) Profit!!!!

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Probably just nick an idea from Samsung!

          Dadgummit... stop giving the corporates more ideas on how to amplify their greed.

    2. vilemeister

      Or just explain away the fact they catch fire with 'well, you're using it wrong' or use lower capacity batteries, charge more for it and tout the benefits of having to visit a charger more often.

  5. Zebo-the-Fat

    Confused

    Did I read it correctly, they use "graphene oxide"

    Graphine is carbon so graphene oxide must be carbon dioxide or monoxide, what am I missing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confused

      An education in chemistry?

      A web browser and/or connection to a search engine?

      Graphene is a single layer form of graphite, which is a carbon crystalline lattice. Graphene oxide is a single layer form of graphite oxide, where some of the carbon links are replaced by carboxyl and carbonyl groups.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Yay, Yet Another Battery Tech Article

    What fun. Yet another article on future battery tech that we won't see before decades, full of chemistry-heavy references to make it look serious.

    Look, guys, I know that there are people working on batteries, but I've got a bit of a case of burnout reading about all that extraordinary stuff they're doing in the labs when the only types of battery I've been able to buy since 1990 is good old Alkaline, Mercury-Cadmium or NiMH.

    Been hearing about carbon nanotubes since it seems forever, but nothing on the shelves. Here comes another nothing then.

    Who knows, maybe my daughter's children will see something new. Whenever she gets around to having some, that is.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Yay, Yet Another Battery Tech Article

      Same here. Wake me up when you actually have something to SELL.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay, Yet Another Battery Tech Article

        Wake me up when there is something I can afford to buy....

  7. raygdunn

    Re: FOMO

    Rabies related? Certainly sounds like foaming at the mouth☺

    Just Googled it.

    Not a problem here.

    No ?*%! mobile signal.

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Slim batteries v. big batteries.

    I remember my first mobi - pre-smartphone, c. 1993ish. It was a motorola flip-phone and the standard battery (think something the size of a battery pack for 4 AA batteries) lasted a whopping 8 hours on standby. They understood this was a problem and produced an optional extra battery, that was about an inch thick, but would last for 24 hours.

    I had a similar arrangement on by Acer AA1 - extra big battery that stuck out but gave 8 hours run time.

    Maybe people could be given a choice? When will some brave manufacturer offer a battery that is (a) removable and (b) can be replaced by one 3 times the thickness.

    1. handleoclast

      Re: Slim batteries v. big batteries.

      The solution turns out to be some sort of external power bank. Then the trade-off of bulk, weight and duration is in your hands. Phone manufacturers don't have to produce low-volume, fat battery phones. You choose what size of power bank you want to carry around. Or maybe two power banks, so you can be sure to have a charged one whilst the other is charging. Lighter phone means less arm strain from long phone calls. I expect you can think of other advantages to this solution.

      Tesco even do an environmentally unfriendly one-shot power bank, discussed and dissected by Big Clive. Rechargeable Li ion cell, missing the circuitry that would allow it to be recharged.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Slim batteries v. big batteries.

        I can explain a few disadvantages, too. One, you're tied to a cable. Very tacky. Two, the transfer isn't as efficient; drain may outpace recharge. Three, you can't charge if you're using On-The-Go (unless you're using UBC-C, which is still not very common). Four, it still doesn't address the issue of sealed batteries wearing down over time and eventually needing replacement (and please don't tell me it's easy; your mileage may vary, and I've seen plenty of cracked screens from amateur attempts). Frankly, due to fire risks, lithium-type batteries should be removable by law to control that fire risk.

  9. HwBoffin

    FYI:

    http://www.gsmarena.com/zte_blade_a610-8294.php

    Not affiliated in any way. May be a poor quality device. Battery really lasts for more than 2 days.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      It lasts for two days BECAUSE it's a 4Ah battery packed into a substandard device. AND it's not removable.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Assault on batteries

    Actually Li-Ion can hold a lot more charge but the reaction is not reversible. ie if you optimize the chemistry for single use that "4AH" cell can hold 6.3AH but cannot be recharged safely afterwards if ever depleted below 2.5V per cell due to copper shunts.

    I posted a tentative fix a while ago but haven't been able to commercialize, its an expensive solution but should be effective.

    In fact a simpler method is to integrate a supercapacitor with a low current high capacity battery in the same physical casing ie put a 16340 in a 18650 with 2S2P coin cell sized supercaps and controller at the +ve end.

    Expensive but fine for some applications where you need >20A for a few seconds such as jump starters and/or fast acceleration of an EV.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Re. Assault on batteries

      OK, but what about EXTENDED high-draw use, such as lengthy GPS sessions, 3D gaming, or extensive video playback?

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