MIT researchers develop batteries with double the power

The lithium metal batteries could power smartphones, drones and even electric cars

MIT has developed a technology that could double the battery life of gadgets including smartphones, tablets, drones and even electric cars.

The rechargeable battery is made from lithium metal rather than lithium ion and works without an anode, replacing it instead with graphite to make a super-thin, high-energy lithium metal foil. This part can hold more ions, which in turn, makes the battery last longer.

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"With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium ion battery. Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium ion battery, but now it will last twice as long," co-inventor of the battery and CEO of SolidEnergy, Qichao Hu, said.

The batteries, now in development by Hu's firm SolidEnergy, can be manufactured using existing techniques too, so it shouldn't be that much more expensive to make them or for device manufacturers to integrate them into consumer electronics.

They are even powerful enough to keep electric cars running for longer.

"Industry standard is that electric vehicles need to go at least 200 miles on a single charge," Hu added. "We can make the battery half the size and half the weight, and it will travel the same distance, or we can make it the same size and same weight, and now it will go 400 miles on a single charge."

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The batteries could be in use by early 2017, in certain gadgets such as smartphones and wearables.

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