Inventors have been trying to find an improvement on the standard lithium-ion battery for some time now but few people could have expected a fruit would have given them the possible solution.
Silicon has long seen as a possible material, because of the huge amount of energy it can store. However, there are some problems with the material which no –one had been able to solve before now.
The way to make a more powerful and efficient silicon battery hasn’t been based on apples, pears or even oranges. Instead, our old friend the pomegranate has lent a helping hand.
Inspired by Clusters of Seeds
Stanford scientists used as their inspiration the ways in which the fruit’s seeds are clustered together. This turned out to be a break-through, as it solved the typical problems of the silicon swelling and breaking up or reacting with the electrolytes on the battery.
The new approach involves using some silicon nanowires that are then covered in what have been described as carbon based yolk shells. This design stops the silicon from breaking and allows some space for swelling. The units are then fitted together just like the way pomegranate seeds sit together inside the fruit.
Yi Cui is a professor at Stanford and he said that “a couple of challenges” remain before this kind of battery can move into the production stage. However, he pointed out that in the future they could offer “smaller, lighter and more powerful batteries” for the likes of phones, tablets and even electric-powered cars.