Although we’ve seen amazing technological progress in mobile devices for the past decade, they’re still held back by portable power. Simply put, changes in battery technology haven’t kept up with the pace of phone and tablet development. Instead, we’ve generally seen a compromise: If you want longer runtime, you need devices with bigger batteries.
Enevate, an Irvine, California–based developer of lithium ion batteries, says that doesn’t have to be the case. The company announced what it calls HD-Energy technology on Tuesday, promising batteries with a 30 percent higher energy density rate over today’s power packs.
The secret sauce is in using silicon-dominant anodes, Enevate says.
“While conventional graphite anodes can store 372 mAh/g, pure silicon through an alloying process has the potential to store up to 4200 mAh/g. The self-standing, flexible, and conductive anodes are comprised of majority silicon in a complex micromatrix composite that is 100% active and contains no inactive or ‘dead space’ binders and is engineered for high volume manufacturing. The HD-Energy Technology delivers a high capacity monolithic or “single-particle” anode which enables cell designs today up to 700-800 Wh/L core energy density with cycle life similar to graphite cells.”
If Enevate can deliver on its 30 percent higher energy density rate promise, that means device batteries could be nearly a third smaller without sacrificing run time. Or batteries could retain their current sizes and have a sizable boost in run time on a single charge, something that most people will likely prefer since most screen sizes are growing anyway.
I don’t see a way to purchase batteries directly from Enevate, so I can’t test its claims. I suspect the company would rather work with device makers for large battery orders; perhaps we’ll see Samsung, LG or some other player in the mobile market take Enevate’s battery tech for a spin.