This is one of the most common questions asked when we talk about a new technological object today. What is the autonomy of this device? When it is obviously impossible to draw a parallel between the consumption of one object and another, the question of autonomy disrupts the conversation, whether it is a phone, a laptop or, more recently, a car.
The first solution to this autonomy problem was found by circumventing the problem. It’s impossible to make larger batteries (often for weight and aesthetic reasons) so it has been necessary to make batteries that don’t last a week and don’t take the day to recharge.
So fast rechargeable batteries and even ultra-fast charging were born. With autonomous capacities that often exceed thousands of ampere-hours (mAh), our phones are now themselves real energy sources and can even serve as a charging station for other devices.
These ultrafast rechargeable batteries may have found a new life in Australia, where a private company, GMG, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, has announced that it is developing a battery that will recharge 10 times faster than that currently. This new kind of model would not be made of lithium, but aluminum. Consideration of this record-breaking cooldown time.
If the Australian company’s announcement is confirmed in the coming weeks, it could be a real revolution for many industries.
A real revolution?
Aluminum battery prototypes are not new, and batteries of this type are already being used by the military in particular. As early as 1990, a hybrid vehicle powered by aluminum batteries was presented to the public without any real success.
The technology, while not new, is very expensive. Another problem is that the aluminum-air batteries used by the military today have an acceptable level of reliability. The question arises about aluminum ion batteries, a connection that the Australian GMG claims to have made reliable, but which has never proven itself in the trade.
A revolutionary and ecological battery
If the charging process is advertised as being ten times faster, would the battery life be a little disappointing? Compared to current batteries with the same weight, this new battery could only transport 60% of the energy, which does not necessarily make it an interesting alternative in this regard. If the autonomy for a typical smartphone battery were around 8 to 10 hours, depending on the operating system and intended use, charging could only take five minutes.
Batteries are currently a major source of pollution for electrical items. These latter compounds of lithium may or may not be very difficult to recycle. In addition, “the extraction of this precious mineral has been the subject of much debate. Both the question of the social impact of this extraction on the employees and the ecological aspect of the extraction.
The aluminum batteries are also noticeable here. They are announced by GMG as recycling, an important argument for their future marketing, while the ecological question tends to become an important point in the public debate. While we wait to find aluminum on the back of our phones, we still have to wait.
The first Australian prototype seems to have proven itself, but the latter is anything but a successful model. Years of research and testing are therefore expected for the Australian company before this new battery can hit the market.