Batteries of Tomorrow: A Deep Dive into the Future of Battery Technologies

April 2021

What will the future hold for batteries? What are the current battery technologies that we have been using in the past and what possibilities exist for new battery technologies as we move forward?

As we try and answer these questions, it is important to recognize that displays, memory, and processors of our devices will demand greater power as technology advances. As a result of this increase in power requirements there is a need to consider not only improving existing battery technologies but also developing novel approaches such as flexible batteries or printed organic materials.

To allow us to answer these questions further it is important to explore the various types of batteries we presently have access to. These include the conventional primary battery design, lithium ion batteries, fuel cells, and metal oxide greener technologies. It is also important to consider the different applications for batteries and the device that may require them in order to more accurately answer our questions about future battery technologies.

Understanding how batteries work is a good way of understanding how we can improve them as technology advances. By learning about current battery technology and what can be done to improve it we will understand more about possible future battery technologies. The most common type of batteries are primary batteries, these are disposable and cannot be recharged.ย 

Primary batteries have been used for years and have been able to satisfy many power requirements of devices such as watches and flashlights. A few disadvantages for primary batteries are that they canโ€™t be recharged, that they require a heavy duty design with thick walls, and that they need to be replaced often. These disadvantages however are minor compared to the advantages that conventional primary batteries offer including low cost, small size, large energy density, high voltage, simple construction methods.

Primary battery designs are simple because they use only one chemical reaction; this is what makes them very cost effective but also limits their capacity to provide high currents. Because of their simplicity, conventional primary batteries require thick walls to withstand the high voltage created during discharge and often are non-rechargeable. Because of their size they also take up significant space in applications like devices that fit on a keychain or water purifying devices. While primary batteries have been a great design choice for years, new battery technologies are becoming available that are not only more efficient but also more compact. In addition to these benefits however there are still some areas of research that can be done to improve primary battery designs further.

As we continue to investigate the various types of batteries that can be used, we must look at the application for each type of battery as well as the device that may need them. There is a lot of research into the future of battery technologies, and it seems pretty clear that there will be very few limits on how they can be used in the near future. There has been a lot of focus on designing better Li-Ion batteries, but let's look at some of the other options out there.

Lithium-air batteries promise to be a revolutionary technology. They can store about four times as much energy as Li-Ion batteries for the same weight, yet the theoretical minimum is estimated to be even higher at about 20 times as much energy per volume. However, there has been so much focus on improving their performance that the cost of the battery has increased until it is now too expensive to compete with other energy-efficient power sources like solar cells.

Researchers have also turned their attention to advanced batteries called supercapacitors which can be charged and discharged very quickly, but suffer from slow recharging times and need frequent replacement cycles due to their small capacity.

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