A novel design of lithium-ion battery
A novel design of the lithium-ion battery invented at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Home-grown talent have come up with an invention that could potentially change the design of the traditional lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries can be commonly found in everyday electronic items and medical devices, ranging from smart phones and e-cigarettes to pacemakers and hearing aids.

A research team at Khalifa University, led by Dr Daniel Choi, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, have announced the redesign of the traditional lithium-ion battery that could potentially change the industry.

The invention, which is currently awaiting a patent from the US Patents Office, was invented to tackle two of the main issues that the typical lithium battery faces: low energy density and flammability.

The creation of the battery’s design “will also have huge implications for robotics and emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the post-Fourth Industrial Revolution world”, according to Choi.

In his research paper, Choi explained that his team of researchers have discovered a paper-thin, flexible lithium-ion battery that has all the energy density and safety features needed to be used for space applications.

“Non-solid electrolytes are not particularly stable at very high temperatures,” he said.

“These flammable electrolytes can cause batteries to explode. There are a few reasons a battery bursts into flames: most commonly, too much heat or bad battery design makes the electrolytes react in such a way that an uncontrolled positive feedback loop called ‘thermal runaway’ occurs and leads to a fire.”

What’s the difference?

The new battery weighs less than 20 percent of the weight of a traditional battery, and offers around 90 percent of the same energy.

“The flexibility of the nanocomposite material means it can be shaped to fit any odd or underutilized space, and the large surface area means any heat produced is easily dissipated,” said Choi.

“Our ultra-thin batteries can also expand functionality for a broad range of electronic products, including sensors and other technologies at the heart of IoT systems,” he added.