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Power/Alternative Energy??

Polymer gel to enable cheaper Lithium batt

Posted: 14 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:polymer gel? lithium battery? rechargeable battery?

Researchers at the University of Leeds in England have recently invented a polymer gel that is touted to be the key to developing cheaper, smaller and flexible batteries. According to the researchers, the flexible battery can be achieved without without affecting battery performance.

Ian Ward, the research physicist who developed the technology, said it could replace liquid electrolytes used in rechargeable batteries. The gel can also be made into thin, flexible films through an automated low-cost process, he added.

The technology has been licensed to Polystor Energy Corp., which is now conducting trials to commercialize cells for portable CE applications.

The polymer gel eliminates the need for a separator in a rechargeable lithium battery, making for a lighter pack. In addition, Ward's research team has developed a patented manufacturing process that extrudes the gel between an anode and cathode at up to 10m/min to create a battery that is nanometers thick. The resulting battery film can be cut to any size and the lamination process seals the electrodes.

"The polymer gel looks like a solid film, but it actually contains about 70 percent liquid electrolyte," explained Ward. "It's made using the same principles as making a jelly. You add lots of hot water to gelatinein this case there is a polymer and electrolyte mixand as it cools it sets to form a solid but flexible mass."

The flexible film cells can be shaped and bent to fit the geometries of virtually any device, the researcher added.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times





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