There isn’t much that we demand from a decent power supply. All we ask is that it has enough power to charge out beloved tech devices in a timely manner and not heat up to a degree hot enough that our devices explode. This is why fluoride, which heats up to 300 degrees fahrenheit, has been sitting on the sidelines in the battery game. However, Caltech researcher Robert Grubbs, believes that “fluoride batteries can have a higher energy density, which means that they may last longer – up to eight times longer than batteries in use today.”
This could be a complete game changer to the battery industry. Grubbs, who is best known for winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, explains that this means using fluoride batteries, we could potentially plug in our smartphones just once a week to charge, rather than once (and for some, multiple) times a day.
The type of electrochemical technology supplying power to your smart devices makes use of positively charged lithium ‘Li2+’ cations as a kind of chemical ‘piston’ to draw an electrical charge through a circuit. At full charge, a supply of cations occupy the battery’s anode. Once the circuit is closed, ions surge into the cathode, producing a current that does the all-important work. To reset the cell, all that’s required is a voltage to ‘push’ the lithium piston back again.
Compared to lithium-ion batteries, the fluoride batteries require a lower count ion that works better than the lithium-ion due to the heat that fluoride is able to generate.
But the science behind the batteries is still well under review. We have yet to get a handle on thermal events when it comes to Li-Ion batteries, so needless to say we won’t be seeing fluoride type batteries near our phones or other gadgets anytime soon.