Batteries made of jelly – it’s not April 1st!

by Dale Wright

We’ve heard of companies making futuristic curved batteries, and students at Stanford
University have been working hard to perfect amazing see-through batteries, but this new
battery story is a trifle surprising! (Boo!)

Researchers at the University of Leeds have invented a new type of battery with a jelly like interior (it’s actually a layer of rubber polymer). They hope that it will be a safe alternative to lithium batteries and could dramatically change the way home electronics are made.

Many portable devices currently use lithium batteries which contain electrolyte liquid. There are some safety concerns around liquid electrolytes – they can overheat and catch fire in some circumstances, and some manufacturers have already had to recall them. However, any battery with a liquid electrolyte has a much better power output than solid electrolyte batteries which are arguably safer.

A jelly battery would be lighter and safer than either liquid or solid electrolyte batteries, meaning that your laptop, iPad 2 or Smartphone could be even easier to carry around than it is at the moment. You also wouldn’t have to worry about it getting hot.

The new polymer gel battery technology could also revolutionise electric vehicles which
currently have to carry a very heavy battery in the chassis. With a jelly battery, your car battery (and your car) would be lighter, so you’d have a more efficient car which can travel further between charges. (Whether it would wobble down the motorway is yet to be seen).

Even better, jelly batteries could cost about one fifth of the price of a liquid electrolyte lithium battery, and they could be made in any shape – so those futuristic Star Trek wrist watch phones may only be a few years away, until then you can pick up our our nano watch strap.

The new jelly battery technology was developed by Professor Ian Ward who has already
licenced his invention to a manufacturer in the US. Maybe it won’t be long before our gadgets come with a helping of cream and a strawberry on top.