Battery life remains the bane of the technology world. But Sony has announced that it’s working on a new kind of lithium and sulphur energy storage that will provide 40 per cent more life for a given battery volume, and should be ready as soon as 2020.
Sony tells Nikkei that it’s working on a battery that uses sulphur at the negative electrode (and plain old lithium at the positive one) to provide an energy density per unit volume of 1000 Wh/L. For comparison, most conventional lithium-ion batteries have an energy density of around 700Wh/L. That means a new cell of equivalent size to a current-day battery could last 40 per cent longer than at present.
According to the newspaper, Sony plans to create a commercial version of the new lithium-sulphur battery as soon as 2020. It's planned to be a laminated battery, of the sort you find in mobile phones.
If 40 per cent sounds like a modest jump, bear in mind that battery innovation has been slow in recent years. Most energy source advances have seen step-changes in rapid charging, rather than improvement of batteries themselves. If Sony can actually crank out a battery which holds 40 per cent more juice for a given volume, we'll all notice a pretty significant difference.
Top image of an existing Sony BA800 battery by TechStage under Creative Commons licence