Japanese scientists discover how to recover up to 80% of the original capacity of the mobile battery

The lithium ion batteries They were invented in the 1970s and began shipping shortly after 1990. Today, they dominate the market, and the vast majority of batteries in use today are lithium-ion. They are found in a wide variety of electronics devicesfrom smart watches and smartphones to laptops and cars.

Despite their prevalence, lithium-ion batteries have a limited shelf life. Over time and continuous use, battery components degrade, lose charging capacity, and eventually stop working. However, recently, a team of Japanese scientists has discovered a way to recover even the 80% of original capacity of these batteries:

How to know how much your mobile battery has deteriorated since you bought itTyler Lastovich.Unsplash.

The big battery problem

In it functioning Internal to lithium batteries is their own condemnation. Batteries are made up of cells, which contain a positive electrode (cathode) and a negative one (anode). The cathode is usually made of lithium cobalt oxide, while the anode is graphite. Among them is a electrolyte.

The electrolyte prevents the electrons flow directly through the battery, and instead, redirects them to travel the electrical circuit marked by it. When we load In the battery, electrons move from the cathode to the anode through the electrolyte. Simultaneously, the cathode emits lithium ions that cross the electrolyte and bind to electrons at the anode.

When the device is in use and consumes energy of the battery, the process is reversed: electrons move from the anode to the cathode. Lithium ions from the anode cross the electrolyte and return to the cathode, where they bond with electrons to form lithium again. That is, the battery works thanks to the constant mobility of electrons and ions. If the battery runs out or the device is turned off, this movement stops, and therefore the battery stops discharging.

What is not taken into account in this scheme is that this chemical process that drags electrons from the anode to the cathode and from the cathode to the anode causes the erosion of materials and creates salts that cause the battery to also lose efficiency. Therefore, batteries deteriorate not only when powering our devices, but also during charging.

An injection for a new life

And it is inevitable. Although we follow all the precautions and recommendations experts to conserve the battery, the reality is that, over time, it will degrade until it becomes practically unusable. In fact, anyone who hasn't broken or lost all of their cell phones will have experienced this on occasion; because the battery degradation It is one of the most common reasons why people buy a new mobile phone.

Fortunately, a few months ago, a team of researchers from the Japanese company toyota discovered an unexplored vein with enormous potential. In his study, which was published in the journal Joule, the scientists propose a innovative method which consists of injecting lithium naphthalenide into a battery degraded by prolonged use. With this technique, they ensure that up to the 80% of original capacity of lithium ion batteries.

A car battery has a useful life of about 5 years.
A car battery has a useful life of about 5 years.The reasonfreemarker.core.DefaultToExpression$EmptyStringAndSequenceAndHash@731b78c5

This innovation could mean a notable reduction in the waste generation electronics, extending the life of millions of electronic devices. Furthermore, if it were indeed possible to revitalize lithium-ion batteries, the discovery would have the potential to significantly transform the automotive industry, reducing the need for materials for new batteries and decreasing the residuous generation electronics.

Despite the promise that this advancement represents, the team has shown a cautious attitude optimistic about its results. They have pointed out the need to continue research to comprehensively understand the long-term implications of this technique and its potential application in various sectorsnot just the automobile.