Japanese researchers believe that a newly developed material could enable the use of long-lasting lithium-ion batteries in heavy machinery.
Although lithium-ion batteries are already used in millions of devices, including electric cars and consumer electronics, they generally aren't feasible in most high-temperature environments.
The batteries rely on an organic electrolyte solution to conduct electricity between its two electrode layers, but the solution also requires a cooling system to prevent it from overheating at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scientists from Tohoku University in Sendai, however, recently announced the development of a solid, stable electrolyte material that can operate between room temperature and about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Researchers said that although the new material isn't as conductive, it could save money and enable the development of more compact battery systems — without cooling components — in the future.
The higher temperature threshold also means that future lithium-ion batteries could be used in fields from medicine — where equipment is often sterilized with heat — to manufacturing, where they could be included in motorized industrial machinery.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
How would the addition of lithium-ion batteries alter large industrial operations? Could this technology be a game-changer for the manufacturing economy?
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