In addition to the super-fast charging time, the battery, developed by researchers at Stanford University and described in Nature magazine, uses an aluminum power cell rather than the current lithium units, and is also flexible, making it perfect for the supposedly forthcoming generation of foldable phones. Furthermore, it doesn’t wear out for at least 7,500 charging cycles, compared to just 1,000 cycles for lithium batteries.
On the down side, the prototype version of the aluminum battery only produces about two volts of charge, or roughly half what lithium batteries can produce; most smartphones have a supply voltage of five volts. However, Stanford chemistry professor Hongjie Dai, who helped develop the battery, described it as a promising start toward a commercially viable version.
This isn’t the only super-fast-charging battery out there. Previously I wrote about an Israeli company called StoreDot, which claims to have developed a battery that can store enough power for a day's mobile use in just 30 seconds. The company is still working on shrinking the battery to a convenient size, but they hope to have it on the market by 2016. StoreDot has raised $48 million in two rounds of funding so far.
Meanwhile, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a battery that can recharge using warmth from the human body. Taking advantage of something called the “thermally regenerative electrochemical cycle, the battery can charge itself between temperatures of 68°F and 140°F, and then release the energy when it is exposed to lower temperatures.