What are Next Generation Batteries?


Two long-term trends are converging to make it possible for the first time to imagine batteries that charge incredibly quickly, last for days, and can be recharged thousands of times with no loss of efficiency. The first of these trends is in the development of low-power-consumption processors, LED lights, and other high-efficiency technologies. Coupled with a recurring cycle of advances in lithium battery technology, this is resulting in devices that require less power and have significantly longer-lasting, high-efficiency batteries. Among these are advances that are improving the safety of lithium technology while increasing the capacity of the batteries using it, such as solid state and polymer batteries. While the impact of such a technology on learning is currently challenging to measure, it is easy to imagine that as users feel less of a need to be tethered to power supplies, they will be using their devices more — anywhere they want.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • "A lithium–oxygen battery based on lithium superoxide" http://bgr.com/2016/01/25/lithium-oxygen-battery-research/ According to the article in Nature, these kinds of batteries have proven tricky to develop in the past since “solid LiO2 has been difficult to synthesize in pure form because it is thermodynamically unstable.” However, they’ve now discovered “that crystalline LiO2 can be stabilized in a Li–O2 battery by using a suitable graphene-based cathode,” thus making it far less likely that these batteries will overheat. “This discovery really opens a pathway for the potential development of a new kind of battery,” Larry Curtiss, one of the coauthors of the study, explained in an official statement posted by the Argonne National Laboratory. “Although a lot more research is needed, the cycle life of the battery is what we were looking for.”Curtiss also explains that using lithium-superoxide to store energy offers the promise of creating a lithium-air battery that is a closed system and thus wouldn’t require constant intake of oxygen. Such closed systems are safer and more stable than open systems. Aside from the obvious (including this new type of battery in museums that display evolutionary examples of various batteries over the years), this new innovation has a number of implications for museums. Anything that currently requires lithium-ion batteries within a museum would greatly benefit from the long life and stability a lithium-oxygen battery offers. For example, lithium-oxygen batteries could be used in consumer electronics, portable electronics, and mobile devices such as smartphones.- melissa melissa Mar 1, 2016

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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Argon National Laboratory http://www.anl.gov/articles/stable-superoxide-opens-door-new-class-batteries "Argonne battery scientists Jun Lu, Larry Curtiss and Khalil Amine, along with American and Korean collaborators, were able to produce stable crystallized lithium superoxide (LiO2) instead of lithium peroxide during battery discharging. Unlike lithium peroxide, lithium superoxide can easily dissociate into lithium and oxygen, leading to high efficiency and good cycle life." - melissa melissa Mar 1, 2016
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