Replace the insides of a lithium ion battery with a jelly-like goo and you get inexpensive, safe, powerful, lightweight batteries that can power everything from cell phones to electric cars.
These solid-state lithium ion batteries are just around the corner. A gel electrolyte from Leeds University in the U.K. is ready for prime time and the university is looking for commercial partners to use the electrolyte for the next generation of portable batteries. Gel electrolytes have been percolating in laboratories around the world for years, and other research outfits, notably NASA, have recently been offering to license out their technologies.
A key advantage of the Leeds electrolyte is the way it's made. It's extruded in continuous sheets like fresh pasta or fruit leather. The result is a thin, flexible battery that can be stacked in layers to make batteries that hold more energy than today's batteries of the same size and weight. Even better, the pasta-like process means batteries that are cheaper to manufacture.… Read more