University of Leeds researchers have invented a new type of polymer gel that can be used to produce cheaper lithium batteries which are safer than current lithium batteries.
The technology was developed by Professor Ian Ward, a research professor of Physics at the University of Leeds, has already been licensed to an American battery company for commerialisation in portable electronics.
The gel material is aimed at replacing liquid electrolytes in rechargeable lithium cells, offering the added benefit that no internal separator is necessary.
Professor Ward’s team also pioneered a new manufacturing process which is capable of extruding the gel between the cathode and anode of a battery at high speed leading to reduced costs of manufacturing.
"The polymer gel looks like a solid film, but it actually contains about 70% liquid electrolyte" said Professor Ward.
"It’s made using the same principles as making a jelly: you add lots of hot water to ‘gelatine’ – in this case there is a polymer and electrolyte mix – and as it cools it sets to form a solid but flexible mass".
The gel-based lithium cells can "shaped and bent to fit the geometries of virtually any device", the researchers added.
The researchers did not discuss which flavours would be available.