Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Power Cellphones Handhelds Sony Technology

Sony Creating Sulfur-Based Batteries With 40% More Capacity Than Li-Ion (hothardware.com) 151

MojoKid writes: Since the original iPhone was released in 2007, we have seen some incredible advances in smartphone processing power along with a wealth of feature improvements like faster Wi-Fi and cellular speeds and larger, higher resolution displays. However, battery technology, for the most part, hasn't kept up. There are a few major battery suppliers but Sony is currently an underdog, commanding just 8 percent of the market for compact lithium-ion batteries. Its three largest competitors — Samsung (SDI), Panasonic and LG Chem — each command around 20 percent of the market. In an effort to change that, Sony is developing a new type of battery chemistry that can boost runtimes by 40 percent compared to lithium-ion batteries of the same volume. Sony's batteries use a sulfur compound instead of lithium compounds for the positive electrodes, reportedly allowing for much great energy density. Sulfur batteries can also supposedly be made 30 percent smaller than traditional lithium-ion cells while maintaining the same run times. The company is now working to ensure that the new battery chemistry is safe enough for commercial use.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony Creating Sulfur-Based Batteries With 40% More Capacity Than Li-Ion

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let me know when there are factories building these batteries, until then, *yawn*

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:45PM (#51147931)

      Let me know when there are factories building these batteries, until then, *yawn*

      This is a site with "news for nerds". If you are not interested in reading about interesting scientific research then go elsewhere. I am just happy that it is Friday, and so far there are no SJW articles.

      Btw, the summary is muddle-headed. It compares "lithium compounds" to "sulfer compounds" when the Sony battery is actually Lithium-Sulfur [wikipedia.org], with both lithium and sulfer. Lithium-Sulfur batteries are not new, but they are not widely used because they tend to degrade and have short lifetimes. Maybe Sony figured out a solution to that.

      • Is it the electrodes that decay or the charge storage compound (not sure the right term)?

        • In standard LI-Ion, it's the electrodes - specifically the anode as they mechanically swell and shrink with charge/discharge and eventually flake away to powder.

          Almost all the cutting level research as been about finding ways of allowing the electrodes to hold/release ions without the mechanical changes that eventually destroy them.

      • allowing for much great energy density

        Engrish great much happy speaking... **I couldn't resist**

        But it does make me wonder, more and more everyday, if I'm reading something a human wrote or a bot.

  • ain't nobody's hero
  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @08:39PM (#51147493)
    "Sulfur batteries can also supposedly be made 30 percent smaller than traditional lithium-ion cells while maintaining the same run times

    If the headline is true, ie 40% more capacity, isn't "smaller batteries can maintain the same run time" pretty much a given?
    • Re:"Supposedly"?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @08:44PM (#51147539)

      I think phones are small enough. How about we work on making them last at least 1 day on a full charge?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        How about we work on making them last at least 1 day on a full charge?

        I have a Galaxy 5. After a full day, it is typically still about 90% charged. I turn off Bluetooth and Wifi when I am not using them. I don't play games on my phone, and I don't use it to watch Youtube.

      • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:47PM (#51147947)

        How about making them smaller in the x and y directions? Or why not have a keypad at least.

        • Re:"Supposedly"?! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @11:01PM (#51148275)

          The reason why consumers "prefer" bigger phones is not because people want a change of clothing with bigger pockets... but the faster CPUs and such require more area to deal with heat.

          Of course, I've been told by someone in the industry that nobody would give up CPU and RAM for a smaller phone, but it would be nice to have a phone about the size of an iPhone 4.

          In general, it seems phone form factor choices have went from candybars, flip-phones, sliders, keyboards, clamshells... to the typical all-glass touch screen smartphone that fundamentally looks the same. across all models. Is this better? Not really.

          Then, there are capabilities built in. Phones are powerful enough that one can build in an entire desktop OS. The Motorola Atrix and Atrix2 are examples of this. It would be nice, with the USB 3.1/USB 3 standard to be able to plug a keyboard, mouse, and monitor into a cellphone, and use it as a desktop. If one creates a dedicated network GPU server that allows devices to send graphics commands, and gets back streaming video (think OnLive for the LAN), then the device wouldn't need to have much in the way of video, and a phone could drive a standard monitor. This essentially allows one device to perform multiple roles, similar to how Microsoft's Surface Pro can work as a tablet, as well as function as a full desktop computer.

          Right now, smartphones seem to be stagnating. We have faster CPUs and payment methods, maybe even touchscreens that register pressure on them... but those are evolution, "0.1" or "0.0.1" style improvements. Having the ability to use the phone as a desktop via USB-C, or even as a document repository, similar to Intel's personal server concept, would be a real "1.0" advance. Especially if BlueTooth could be used with a hard drive to get respectable transfer rates, at least USB 2.0, if not greater for short distances. Barring that, there are companies saying they could get 1GB/sec from infrared, so maybe update the IrDA protocol and have that as an alternative to wireless.

          Lots of ways phones can be improved on, but there are no players interested in doing anything to affect the status quo right now.

          • Re:"Supposedly"?! (Score:5, Informative)

            by Goetterdaemmerung ( 140496 ) on Saturday December 19, 2015 @01:04AM (#51148637)

            The reason why consumers "prefer" bigger phones is not because people want a change of clothing with bigger pockets... but the faster CPUs and such require more area to deal with heat.

            Of course, I've been told by someone in the industry that nobody would give up CPU and RAM for a smaller phone, but it would be nice to have a phone about the size of an iPhone 4.

            I work in the industry. I can tell you that the size is due to the display. It's not primarily due to heat dissipation. The manufacturers are convinced (based on trends and sales) that people want big phones with 5" or larger screens.

            • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

              I work in the industry. I can tell you that the size is due to the display. It's not primarily due to heat dissipation. The manufacturers are convinced (based on trends and sales) that people want big phones with 5" or larger screens.

              Yup. Big screens are easier for older folks to see, and easier for bigger folks to poke at with fingers.

              Young, pajama boy pussy millennials might want or appreciate a small phone for their skinny jeans... but other people that actually have money to spend on a phone don't.

              • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

                If you happen to carry a purse, a large cellphone is not a problem. At that point, the big screen has no downside. That said, for those of us of the pants pocket persuasion, a 5.2 inch screen with minimal bezels makes a perfect compromise - if only someone would build a decent device with those dimensions at a decent price and decent battery life. Seems like this sweet spot was hit a few years back by the LG-G2, but now even LG has blown past it and can't seem to get back to the form factor that makes th

              • but other people that actually have money to spend on a phone don't.
                As the market does not offer small phones with either iOs or Android: no one knows.
                Most people I know who have the money have a phone and a tablet. And most if them would prefer a flip phone or a phone with maximum 'iPhone 3 size'. And yes, I prefer my phine thick, hence I stick to my iPhone 4 till a similar phone shows up, or it stops working.

              • And yet, they're utterly convinced we want them thinner.

                I want one with enough battery to last the day doing the stuff that I want to do, without having to carry a spare, a powerbank or a charger with me.

                Battery life of modern smartphones under day to day use is on par with my original Motorola Microtac of 30 years ago - less than a day - when 15 years ago it was out to 5 days.

            • A reporter wrote about inmates in a prison in California and what their lives behind bars were like, remarking that all the inmates had cell phones even though they were forbidden.

              You could tell what model cell phone a prisoner had by the bar of soap they had carved into a (ahem) "keeper." You see, they stored their cell phone "where the sun doesn't shine", and the shaped bar of soap was to reserve a space for the phone. The reporter than quipped, "I pity the man with a Galaxy S4 . . ."

              What I never f

          • And this is why I still come to Slashdot..you're already at 5 so I'll post instead.
            A star for your nerd badge, sir!
            I still carry an iPhone 4 for the size, but recent OS "upgrades" make it very slow...

          • People want larger phones because they are over 40, and their eyesight is crap.

            OR
            They use their phones for more than one thing at a time.

            Personally, I use my Note 3 to draw schematics, and draw engineering details with dimensions. I tried to do that on a 320x240 screen, and you could not read the dimensions.

          • People are looking at their smart phones a lot these days, and a bigger screen helps. As does the higher resolution of newer phones. When I'm at home and I need to look up something on a web site, I no longer bother to pick up the iPad lying next to me if I'm already holding my phone.
      • I have a ZUK Z1, and after a full day, 6am to 6pm, it's somewhere around 60-80%, depending on how much I've been using it. Admittedly it weighs 180g or so, but seems not to be a downside to me.

      • by hvdh ( 1447205 )

        Buy Chinese. There are several models with 6Ah or larger battery (e.g. Oukitel K6000), which is twice the capacity of the Galaxy S6 battery.
        That's good enough for 10 hours display-on time. Quick charge is supported as well as the option to let this phone charge other devices.

    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      No it's not.
      Weight energy and volumic energy are two different things.
      The article does not say which is which.

      • Re:"Supposedly"?! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:03PM (#51147671) Journal

        No it's not. Weight energy and volumic energy are two different things. The article does not say which is which.

        It's a good thing that the summary (didn't even have to click through to the article) indicates that it's using volumetric energy density for both:

        "Sony is developing a new type of battery chemistry that can boost runtimes by 40 percent compared to lithium-ion batteries of the same volume. Sony's batteries use a sulfur compound instead of lithium compounds for the positive electrodes, reportedly allowing for much great energy density. Sulfur batteries can also supposedly be made 30 percent smaller than traditional lithium-ion cells while maintaining the same run times."

        Weight - and therefore energy density per unit mass - isn't mentioned or implied.

        The grandparent's observation is spot on--the summary is indeed saying exactly the same thing in two different ways. If you can have the same runtime in 30% less volume, you can always get 40% more runtime with the original-sized package. To within a trivial rounding error, 140% and 70% are reciprocals; they're just saying "40% improvement in volumetric energy density".

        • it's using volumetric energy density for both:

          Volumetric energy density is what matters for cellphones. For electric cars, weight density is more important. Lithium-sulfur batteries [wikipedia.org] tend to have short lifetimes, which isn't so important for cellphones, because they are replaced every year or two. It is a bigger issue for cars, which are expected to last at least 10 years.

          • The current crop of li-ion batteries that Samsung are using have a lifespan of less than 12 months to sub-50% capacity. Switching to something with an even shorter life would be insane.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @08:45PM (#51147549) Homepage
    Energy density is not all that matters, and even energy density is *complicated.* One can have high energy density if one looks at maximum energy per mass, or per volume, and depending on the application and how different they are one or the other can matter, which is why tables generally include both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density#Energy_densities_of_common_energy_storage_materials [wikipedia.org] . But even aside from energy density one has other issues, like recharge time and lifespan. It doesn't matter if you can make a battery with very high energy density but with a very short lifespan. In general, I'm skeptical of claims of massive improvement in batteries. As with new solar systems, if every single in-lab claimed battery improvement all were genuine and implementable we'd have solves all the world's energy problems years ago.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:57PM (#51147995) Journal

      It doesn't matter if you can make a battery with very high energy density but with a very short lifespan.

      And sulfur-lithium cells have had a history of short lifetimes. It will be interesting to see if Sony has beaten that - or at least gotten them to last longer than equivalently priced lithium cells of more conventional design.

      In general, I'm skeptical of claims of massive improvement in batteries. As with new solar systems, if every single in-lab claimed battery improvement all were genuine and implementable we'd have solves all the world's energy problems years ago.

      On the other hand, commercially available, UL-approved (so they don't void your fire insurance), solar panels are now cheap enough (WITHOUT subsidies) to beat grid power on price/performance on sunny sites in the temperate zone. The control and conversion electronics has participated in the general Moore's Law style semiconductor technology improvement curve (and will also benefit from economy-of-scale as deployments continue to ramp up). The third piece of the off-gridding puzzle is storage...

      • On the other hand, commercially available, UL-approved (so they don't void your fire insurance), solar panels are now cheap enough (WITHOUT subsidies) to beat grid power on price/performance on sunny sites in the temperate zone.

        I wish people would stop saying that, it just isn't true...

        Even with subsidies, they are STILL too expensive...

        I priced solar just 2 months ago, talked to two local companies that sell solar, the end price is just nuts, about $3.40 a watt installed for a 10.5 KW system in Texas.

        • That sounds about right but keep in mind that Texas has cheap power. Much of the world pays 2x-3x what you pay per kwh. Texas should really raise those prices to encourage people to move to solar. But then again I imagine nobody in charge over there believes in climate change.
          • I would ask the question... "Why does so much of the world pay more for power than we do?"

            What is it that causes power in other places to be 25 cents per kWh when we pay 10 cents (or less).

            I actually don't have any say in my home's power price, I'm in a co-op. It was cheap 9 years ago, but has gotten expensive. My office pays far less for power, just over 7 cents per kWh.

            Solar isn't even close, even wind costs more than that at about 10 cents per kWh.

            • Part of it is taxes, Germans pay 35 cents per kwh and the extra money goes to fund green power projects. It's probably irresponsible to sell power for 7 cents because that encourages people to use as much as they want. I think you can expect those prices to go up in the future.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Sounds like you are being ripped off. $2/W is the most you should pay, installed with tax etc.

          • Maybe so, but I haven't found anyone who will do it for $3 a watt, much less $2.

            Perhaps the problem is a lack of competition, or simply a lack of people who know how to do it here.

            But I have called around and shopped around, most companies simply don't have any interest, the two I spoke with were around the same price.

            I'm all ears with any suggestions for a company in the North Texas area that does it for $2 a watt.

        • I priced solar just 2 months ago, talked to two local companies that sell solar, the end price is just nuts, about $3.40 a watt installed for a 10.5 KW system in Texas.
          Then you're probably paying about $2.45/W for supports and installation. Raw panels - in pallet lots or slightly more if repackaged for fewer than 25 panels - are regularly well under $1/W, and you can get B grade (blemished but still fully functional and guaranteed) for about half that.

          One of the cheaper places to get them is Sun Electronic [sunelec.com]

          • I priced solar just 2 months ago, talked to two local companies that sell solar, the end price is just nuts, about $3.40 a watt installed for a 10.5 KW system in Texas.

            Then you're probably paying about $2.45/W for supports and installation.

            And storage and electronics (systems are a lot more than panel farms) and site planning and contractor/electrician licenses and insurance and their kid's college education ...

            What was in the proposal besides the panels?

            • For $3.40 per watt, that included a "smart inverter", one that runs each panel to its max power, if one is dirty, blocked, or fails, it doesn't stop the others. It included wiring, permits, grid-tie, a second power box in the garage, and all the attachment hardware for the roof.

              I imagine it is about double what the hardware costs, it just seems like a whole pile of money for the labor side.

              • For $3.40 per watt, that included a "smart inverter", one that runs each panel to its max power, ...

                Sounds like a distorted description of a "max power point"" inverter - which runs the panels at the voltage where the most energy is extracted from them and down-converting to the desired output voltage, trading the extra voltage for more output current, rather than clamping them to the output voltage and discarding the extra energy as heat in the panels. ... if one is dirty, blocked, or fails, it doesn't sto

          • Thank you for the link. Those are raw panels, but yes, that is about what I expected to see.

            What do you think of this complete kit:

            http://www.wholesalesolar.com/... [wholesalesolar.com]

            I imagine it isn't EVERYTHING that is needed, but it seems mostly complete, at least to include inverter, panels, mounting hardware, etc.

            The panels themselves they sell for about $1 per watt, but that appears to be for grade A panels. So they want about $6,400 for all the other stuff besides panels.

            This is not a job that I'm prepared to do myse

        • Solar PV only generates usable amounts for 28-30% of the 24-hour cycle on average.

          Your $3.40 per watt is even worse than you thought and of no use on a still, cloudless winter night in a future when oil/gas fired home heating is likely to be outlawed.

    • I do not know the specific details of this battery, but it seems to imply it not only has a greater energy density but has a similar power density. Energy density is just the total energy of the battery, typically discharged at an extremely slow rate like 20 hours, divided by the volume. Power density is how fast you can discharge the battery, essentially energy per unit time, with the density also being per volume.
      What will make these batteries successful is if the actual capacity at a typical discharg
  • by bheading ( 467684 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @08:46PM (#51147555)

    Battery research is far more important than building smaller phones and tablets. Increased energy storage density has important implications for household and grid storage, and electric-powered transport.

    The problem is that there have been at least a dozen or so stories about new battery tech in the past 12 months. Some of them remind you of the old joke about nuclear fusion; it's always 20 years away. Enough crying wolf; wake me when I can buy one.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:34PM (#51147873) Journal

      Some of them remind you of the old joke about nuclear fusion; it's always 20 years away.

      Actually it's 40 years - and it's been 40 years away for the past 60 years or so. However batteries are a bit different in that there are regular claims of working prototypes with capacities 2-10 times the current limit and/or recharge rates similarly improved yet none ever seem to make it into a commercial product and yet the capabilities of Li-ion are slowly improving. What I would love to know is where all these ideas fail (as so many clearly have). Is that they cost too much to make, aren't safe in everyday environments or that the improvements claimed are woefully optimistic? or is if that by the time they would come to market Li-ion has improved itself to the point where there is not much difference in capability?

      • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @11:15PM (#51148325) Homepage

        The devil is in the details. And in particular, the cost of those details and how they chip away at the results you start with.

        Disclaimer: I'm by no means a battery expert in any way, shape or form. But if you read enough about battery tech, one thing that becomes clear is that it's basically a fuzzy science due to the many factors involved. Some examples:

        In the lab, you may use ultra-pure compounds to construct your battery. Such compounds can be expensive though. So for mass production you'd need to use some commercial-grade material that's less pure. The contaminants in there may not matter much. Or they may. It may depend on where that commercial-grade material is sourced. One way or the other, chances are performance / longevity / capacity is reduced vs. your lab sample.

        In the lab, there's lots of things you could try with the materials used. Nano-size structures, layers a few atoms thick deposited on some base material, etc, etc. But for production, none of that matters as you have to be able to actually mass-produce it. And at low enough cost. Which means most of of those nifty tricks will be out. Possibly exactly those tricks that made the improvement.

        In the lab, you'll have carefully controlled conditions. Once it's turned into a product, not so. Cells may be overcharged, over-discharged, dropped, dented, overheated, etc. Providing sufficient safety margins / features for that, can easily nullify those gains seen in the lab. A cell that sees most of its cycles around 40 degrees C may have a vastly different cycle life than one operating at 20 degrees C. Etc, etc.

        Last but not least: it's a long road from lab to product. As explained above: many factors involved.

      • Try using a NiCad again and you'll see what's happened with these great new battery technologies. I still have some NiCad laying around because not long ago that was the option for an affordable battery. Then nickel metal hydride came out, which was much better. Lithium ion was even better. Then lithium polymer, which was much and continues to improve.

        See also lead acid, nickel acid, and half a dozen other chemistries that have been used commercially in the last 20 years. Batteries have come a long way

        • by nojayuk ( 567177 )

          I've got some NiMH AA batteries (Sanyo Eneloop) I bought in 2007 that I still use regularly. They've been through a couple of hundred charge cycles or so in cheap non-intelligent chargers of various kinds. I don't know what capacity losses they've suffered but they still do the job in flashlights and a digital camera. They're the low-self-discharge type that holds a charge for long periods and they're still doing that part of the job too, even after nearly a decade. I expect I'll still be using them for ano

      • As another already commented, the devil is in the details. He briefly mentioned longevity, but I'd like to elaborate on that. Some materials, like silicon, can carry 4 times tge charge of regular batteries, but they tend to swell when they take up the charge and shrink when they lose it. Apart from the mechanical problems, this is a major limitation of the amount of cycles that the battery can withstand. After a few cycles the material is so worn that you lose all the benefits. A material may look so awesom

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:42PM (#51147915)

      We need a "where are they now" battery roundup story where they look at why all the promising breakthroughs never delivered.

    • "household and grid storage"

      For those applications cost per kWh is a far more important factor than density/weight. Who cares if a residential battery is the size of a small car, in most situations you can just bury it in the back yard. Density and weight do of course become major factors in mobile device & EV applications but even here cost is quite important. It doesn't matter if an EV battery is developed that has the same energy density and weight as petroleum fuels, if it costs $30k per battery

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        It doesn't matter if an EV battery is developed that has the same energy density and weight as petroleum fuels, if it costs $30k per battery it is next to useless for the general public. For those two applications I'd rather have a battery cell the size of a 5 gallon bucket that can store 1 kWh for a hundred bucks instead of a cell the size of a 16oz bottle that can store the same amount of energy but cost $500.

        If that's one EV battery for $30k and not just a fuel cell it's a bargain. My gas tank is 14 gallons = 472 kWh and weighs about 14*6 lbs = 84 lbs. Compare that to Tesla's 85 kWh battery weighing 1200 lbs, which I believe costs roughly the same. Size doesn't matter that much, but weight does as the Tesla is starting to hit the practical limits on how much battery the car can hold before the added power is lost in additional weight.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Obviously adding battery power also adds weight, but does it actually become negative net power at some point, where the added power of more battery actually can't offset more weight?

          If you had an EV semi truck and you filled a semi-trailer with battery power, could it not pull itself?

        • "My gas tank is 14 gallons = 472 kWh ... Compare that to Tesla's 85 kWh battery"

          Apples and oranges. You count heat of combustion for your fuel tank. Of that energy, about 17% (80 kWh) will actually reach the wheels. And that's not counting regenerative braking and the low air resistance of a Tesla.

          It's also not counting losses in a power plant, windmill, or PV installation, of course.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • What does a Tesla use in highway cruise? About a third of a kWHr to the mile? If an efficient constant-speed fossil fuel generator can produce 12 kWHr per gallon of gasoline equivalent, the Tesla is getting about 36 MPG? People are claiming 50 MPG average usage from a Prius?

            For all of the low drag coefficient and regen braking of the Tesla, the breakthrough with that vehicle is the large capacity battery.

            On the other hand, some 40 years ago I knew an engineering professor who was doing EV conversion

            • "The Tesla lithium battery is supposed to be more efficient than the lead-acid battery in the charge-discharge cycle?"

              Indeed. Otherwise you would never be able to recharge 50% of 85 kWh in 20 minutes in a stationary car without boiling the batteries. For the Tesla, 92% round-trip efficiency seems to be a widely quoted value.

      • "household and grid storage"

        For those applications cost per kWh is a far more important factor than density/weight.

        Also charge/discharge rate and recharge cycle lifespan, the latter of which plays into the cost per kWh you mentioned.

    • Since Laptops and Mobile phones became more popular (sorry, "cell phones") these articles have been at least 5/year for over a decade.

      I am under the impression batteries now, ARE much better than a decade ago for storage density, but I have no idea if a SINGLE piece of "milestone huge improvement" technology from these articles were used or not.

      I know your post is a very common theme in these news articles but ... yeah I'm completely sick of them at this point, "WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO HAVE AMAZING BATTERIES,

    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      New battery technologies are being implemented, and battery technology has been constantly improving. Batteries today are far better - smaller, lighter, energy denser - than those of twenty years ago.

      Some of the announcements of the past twelve months will end up in working batteries. But it will take a few years, and there will be no fanfare or press releases when it happens. Your next model phone or whatever will just be a bit faster, or support some new transmission standard, or charge a bit quicker, and

  • Think of the fire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @08:53PM (#51147613)

    Li-Ion batteries already go up in nice flames. Consider what you would get with 40% more energy and sulphur getting burned off into the air.

    • by Spaham ( 634471 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:02PM (#51147669)

      V O L C A N O E S !!!

      wow !

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      I don't know, a cell phone bursting into flames and smelling like brimstone sounds pretty metal to me. Ironically demonic.

    • Re:Think of the fire (Score:5, Interesting)

      by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:38PM (#51147893) Journal

      At least a battery made with sulfur can be extinguished with something other than a Class D fire extinguisher, unlike lithium.

      Lithium fires are the sort of bad news where best practice might be "throw the burning laptop through the window, and then work on putting out the secondary fires."

      • At least a battery made with sulfur can be extinguished with something other than a Class D fire extinguisher, unlike lithium.

        Lithium fires are the sort of bad news where best practice might be "throw the burning laptop through the window, and then work on putting out the secondary fires."

        I was under the impression that it was the construction of lithium ion batteries, not the lithium itself, that is the real problem. Very narrow layers with delicate foils that can easily be shorted if there is physical damage or a manufacturing defect. Once a short starts, the heat causes more distortion and shorting. I assume a similar construction approach would be used for sulfur based batteries.

    • Hmmm... fire and brimstone....the CEO of Sony isn't a Mr. de Ville by any chance?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm creating a battery that uses air and common garden dirt to produce 200% more power in a cell that is 46.7% smaller than a conventional Li-ion equivalent.

    I'm an idea man.

    • How can you be saying it is 0.467 times smaller? That doesn't mean anything according to the language police and worse, that must mean it's 2.14 times bigger!

      • How can you be saying it is 0.467 times smaller? That doesn't mean anything according to the language police and worse, that must mean it's 2.14 times bigger!

        He can say that because he is an IDEA man, don't question him!

  • Yet another "developing battery" story. I think this is the 50th one I've seen this year.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @09:23PM (#51147813) Homepage
    I worked at a company where a hallway smelled like an open sewer for several weeks. What made it mysterious was that no sewer line went through that part of the building, leaving the building architect and plumber puzzled. The smell came from leaking batteries inside a UPS in a network closet. Since no one bothered to plugin in the monitoring cable, the one guy who did I.T. for the company didn't know that the UPS stopped working a long time ago. Now that was one hell of a stinker.
  • can boost runtimes by 40 percent

    I predict, that most — if not all — of the added capacity will be eaten by new hardware and features, as happened with the rest of the computer-industry.

    By Moore's law, today's computers ought to be over 256 more powerful, than in the previous millennium (16 years ago) — and the hardware is. But the operating systems and applications ate most of it. And not only because of the new features which the users want (as well as those we do not), but also because the programmers choose wasteful technologies like programming languages, that are more convenient for them, and otherwise sacrificing speed to software portability and maintainability.

    It is quite common for people to complain, that their computer has "become slow" — they don't realize, that the machine is just as fast as when they bought it, but the software (including open-source [slashdot.org]) has become more demanding.

    For similar reasons, the phones using these new batteries will not run for 40% longer...

    • Further to this, companies like Apple are considering re-engineering the bloody 3.5mm standard headphone socket, just to make the phones, sub 7.5mm.

      We get it, we like a lighter, sleeker phone, WITHIN REASON. I don't want to be a typical hardware neckbeard who says "Make it an inch thick and last a week!!" but just once, just ONCE when they figure out a way to shave 1 or 2mm off a phone, I wish they would and then put it right fucking back with battery.
      I am FINE with a phone 9mm or less, if the thing lasts

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      I predict, that most â" if not all â" of the added capacity will be eaten by new hardware and features, as happened with the rest of the computer-industry.

      And I predict that nobody (other than a few habitual complainers on Slashdot) will be the least bit bothered by that, because once you get to about 18 hours of battery life, that's good enough.

      As long as my cell phone can keep going until I plug it in to the charger, just before I go to sleep, it doesn't matter at all to me whether it has 5 minutes of battery remaining or 5 hours. Either way, it will be fully charged again in the morning.

    • It is quite common for people to complain, that their computer has "become slow" — they don't realize, that the machine is just as fast as when they bought it, but the software (including open-source [slashdot.org]) has become more demanding.

      tl;dr:
      Moore's law: Hardware speed doubles every 18 months.
      Gates's law: Software speed halves every 18 months.

      • It is quite interesting that both of those stopped being true at the same time. New versions of Windows aren't much slower than old versions. New Intel processors aren't much faster than old ones.

        Angry Consumer Law: Software grows to fill the available CPU cycles.

  • Apple is working on a phone 1mm thinner than iPhone 6s, battery still lasts the same time! Some unhappy owners claim it slowly bends under its own weight.

  • What's the long term strategy for storing the waste products after the lifetime of the battery? Tesla for example intends to close their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears while singing lalala with waste lithium. I assume lots of big blue barrels will be leaking for 100,000 years. This type of disposal is proven to cause decreased intelligence of people living near such disposal sites. Lithium itself is recyclable, but doing so would bankrupt Tesla as opposed to just mining more.

    What is the long ter
    • The first return of a Google search "tesla plans recycling batteries" actually answers your question. [teslamotors.com]. It has the exact steps of their recycling program, and even has pictures.
      • And that final disposal is probably a few decades off for a vast majority of batteries. Teslas powerwall and industrial system plans to make use of the batteries long after the 8+ years the battery is warrantied for in vehicles.

        • yeah, probably the main driver of them being disposed will be older batteries being replaced by newer tech. Even Musk admits his factory might be outdated by the time it starts production lol.
  • Everybody knows that Sony is the devil, small wonder that they use sulfur for their stuff.

  • Color me skeptical, but these "battery breakthrough" stories are the new "laptop fuel cell" stories, which have appeared here since about the first month Slashdot has existed, and always been shipping just a little bit in the future.

    When they put them in a shipping product, then I'll pay attention.

    • Are you so oblivious that you haven't noticed the batteries in your devices getting more and more powerful for the same weight and size? Every year they squeeze more and more out of the batteries and you've been ignoring it the whole time. Years of these breakthroughs dramatically improving the batteries you use every day and you haven't even noticed.

      There is little reason to point this out to you, because you are ignorant of it even when it's in your hand every day.

      • "Are you so oblivious that you haven't noticed the batteries in your devices getting more and more powerful for the same weight and size?"

        Not in the same way that silicon has been getting smaller and more efficient.

        For that matter the battery in my 2015 Note4 is about twice the capacity and 90% of the volume of the one in my 2010 S2, BUT, after 9 months it's down to less than 50% of the quoted charge capacity.

  • If one percent of these survive production scale up, it will be a revolution.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur

Working...