Innovation That Matters

| Photo source RMIT University

Recyclable mobile phone batteries that last three times longer 

Computing & Tech

New research into a nanomaterial suggests it could be a viable and longer-lasting alternative to lithium-ion batteries

Spotted: Lithium-ion batteries are the default for smartphones because of their energy capacity. However, their lifespans are limited to a few years, and most end up in a landfill or are disposed of incorrectly because they’re too costly to recycle. Now, researchers may have found a way to use a nanomaterial as a replacement. This would allow batteries to be used for up to three times longer.  

The nanomaterial MXene is an ideal candidate to be used as an alternative to lithium batteries, but the material rusts easily. Now, researchers at Australia’s RMIT University have invented a device that removes this rust in just one minute by producing sound waves at a certain frequency. This would mean that MXene batteries could be revitalised every few years.  

Leslie Yeo, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and co-lead senior researcher, said: “Unlike graphene, MXenes are highly tailorable and open up a whole range of possible technological applications in the future (…) The ability to prolong the shelf life of MXene is critical to ensuring its potential to be used for commercially viable electronic parts.” 

The research team now needs to work with industry partners to integrate the device into existing manufacturing systems and processes. The researchers are also exploring how the innovation could be used to remove oxide layers from other materials for applications in sensing and renewable energy.

Springwise has spotted other ways that innovators are making batteries more sustainable, such as mobile cell parts made from waste paper, and and an energy storage system built using recycled lithium-ion batteries.

Written By: Jessica Bradley



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