Assist.Prof.Dr. Levent PARALI, Ph.D.

Sand-based batteries could soon power your mobile phone

Sand-based batteries could soon power your mobile phone

 The negative side of lithium-ion batteries, or anode, is made with graphite, and scientists have been trying to find a substitute material that could make batteries last longer. One of the options is silicon, which can store up to 10 times more energy than current materials, but it’s expensive and hard to produce in large quantities.

 

But then a very simple but brilliant option revealed itself to graduate student Zachary Favors. As Gizmag reports, Favors was relaxing after surfing when he noticed something quite special: sand. Sand is made of quartz, or silicon dioxide, and other materials, so Favors thought he could extract the silicon and use it to make batteries. 

 

He went to back to the lab, milled the sand down and purified it to get silicon. Gizmag’s Darren Quick explains the process: 

 

“Favors started milling the sand down to the nanometer scale before putting it through a series of purification steps that gave it a similar colour and texture to powdered sugar. He then ground salt and magnesium into the purified quartz and heated the resulting powder. In this very simple process, the salt acted as a heat absorber while the magnesium removed oxygen from the quartz, resulting in pure silicon.”

 

Favors and his team then used the silicon to make a coin-sized lithium-ion battery that outperforms conventional batteries by increasing battery life almost three times. 

 

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and the researchers have filed the patent. We can’t wait to use this new battery!

 

Source: Gizmag