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Batteries of the Future to Run on Air, Water, Skin…
May 14,2019, 1642
Last week we talked about the many ways the smartcar’s technology is quickly gaining ground on the road to eclipsing, or at least catching up to, the smartphone. Though that’s not to say the advancements in the batteries that power these devices have traditionally followed suit.

Thankfully, as the world’s universities join the race to create the world’s next battery revolution we’ll soon move beyond the current limitations of the lithium-ion battery whose lifespan maxes out in 24-48 hours.

Industry leaders like Pocket-Lint speculate that what will take their place are inconceivables like nanobatteries that are 80,000 times smaller than a human hair and entire car batteries that can be fully charged in minutes or even seconds.

Based on their research, there’s compelling evidence to suggest that in the future, we’ll see batteries go beyond lithium and harness more organic elements like earth, air, water, and…skin!

Here’s a truncated list of Pocket-Lint identified alternatives we’re most excited about. (View the full list of future battery types on the Pocket-Lint site.)

Earth: Batteries Charged with Sand
Can you imagine charging your smartphone with sand? Batteries of this alternative type employ standard lithium-ion and perform similarly save for their reliance on sand instead of graphite in their anodes.

The University of California Riverside is leading the charge on this high-performing, environmentally friendly technology that is speculated to be available at a surprisingly low cost.

Though it’s still a few years from being fully developed, these batteries are sustainable in that the sand can be purified, paired with salt and magnesium and heated to transform it into the pure silicon final form which improves both its performance and life-span.

Air: Aluminum-Oxygen Powered Battery
Most electric cars can travel a dismal average of 40 to 100 miles on a single charge. Even more expensive brands like Tesla top out around 200 miles.

Which makes the idea of an electric vehicle clocking more than 1,000 miles on one charge all the more impressive. The aluminium-air battery makes it possible.

Thanks to its lightweight technology, these batteries utilize oxygen to fill the cathodes which fuel their metal to aluminium hydroxide conversion.

The car industry is anxious to see this technology become more widespread, so be on the lookout for this imminent machinery.

Water: Alfa Battery Recharges with H20
It was previously predicted by Pocket-Lint that 2015 would be the year we saw aluminium-air batteries like the Alfa battery start trickling into the market.

These impressive batteries have 40 times the capacity of a traditional lithium-ion battery, but that can also hold their charge as long as 14 days simply by adding water.

Still others like those in the MIT sciences department  are working to extract power out of water dew to produce up to 1 microwatt or more of power.

Skin: Powered By the Flesh
Arguably the most fantastical batteries of the future will be powered using your person. Thanks to friction and electricity created from the movement of your skin, devices are now harnessing that energy to power smartphones and other wearables.

Pocket-lint explains it works by using, “An electrode…to harvest the current, so a 50nm-thick gold film is used. The gold film sits below a silicone rubber layer composed of thousands of tiny pillars that help create more surface area for skin contact, which creates more friction. Since the skin is a one of the triboelectric layers it means the device can be small.”

As the future of batteries progresses and catches up to that of the technologies who rely on them, expect to see more of these types of organically powered devices that rely less on an outlet and increasingly on elements like earth, air, water and the flesh!
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