To paraphrase Winston Churchill, lithium-ion batteries are possibly the worst of all battery technologies, except for all others that have been tried. They hold a lot of electricity in a small space, but they are expensive to make and are responsible for occasionally setting airplanes and notebook computers on fire. Researchers at 24M, a spin-off from MIT, have developed a new approach to lithium-ion batteries that could revolutionize the industry.
Traditional lithium-ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte that can leak and cause damage if the cell gets punctured. Some companies have pursued using solid electrodes to create a solid-state battery. 24M takes a middle ground, using a colloidal suspension of particles for the electrode material. This approach has numerous benefits. First and foremost, it allows the designers to eliminate up to 80% of the non-functional material from a traditional lithium-ion battery. The result is also more flexible and durable than a standard design. Finally, the battery can be fabricated much more efficiently.
Taken in combination, these gains could result in a battery that costs half as much to produce and yet holds more power then a traditional design of the same size. This means that a device with the new battery could run longer between charges without adding any weight or increasing its size. This could make new wearable Health Tech devices more economically feasible that they might be today.