This year offered a little something for everybody with an interest in this area of science, bringing us tech that could charge electric vehicles in 10 minutes, batteries that suck carbon dioxide out of the air and news that the world's biggest battery is set to get even bigger. Here are the most significant battery breakthroughs of 2019.
Ideally, the lithium-ion batteries that power our mobile devices and today's electric vehicles stay within a certain temperature range when charging, otherwise they run the risk of degrading and suffering a far shorter lifespan. But there is plenty to be gained by charging them at higher temperatures if we can do so safely, namely a greater efficiency and therefore potentially far shorter plug-in times.
In October, a team of Penn State University researchers demonstrated a new kind of battery built to take the heat. Charging a battery at around 60° C (140° F) would normally be considered "forbidden," by scientists, but the researchers' device hits these temperatures in just 10 minutes and then rapidly cools before the deleterious effects can take hold.