Every time a person goes to a smartphone shop to buy a phone, he/she considers all the specifications of the phone like the RAM, the storage, the camera, the display resolution, all the cool new features like the in-display fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, etc. But the most important out of all of them is the battery capacity. There’s no point in having all the cool new features if your phone’s battery can’t even make it to the end of the day. Most smartphones today have the lithium-ion batteries which are capable but are now falling short due to the smartphone features getting more and more powerful. The solution to this problem can be adopting graphene batteries.
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon in the shape of a hexagonal (honeycomb) lattice pattern. It is a good conductor of electrical and thermal energy, extremely lightweight and is flexible with a large surface area. Conventional battery electrodes are significantly improved when enhanced with graphene. Graphene batteries have huge potential in the smartphone market and even in batteries of electric cars but they are not commercially available yet.
History: In November 2016, Huawei was the first smartphone company to unveil its graphene-enhanced Li-ion batteries. These could remain functional at higher temperatures and could offer longer battery life. Huawei claimed that it reduced the battery temperature by 5 degrees Celsius. In November 2017, a team of researchers at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology developed ‘graphene ball’, a unique battery that enables a 45% increase in battery capacity and 5 times faster charging than standard Li-ion batteries. A phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ that currently has a 4300mAh battery could potentially pack a battery that is about 6235mAh without occupying any extra space. Li-ion batteries are sub-optimal. Samsung is hoping to have at least one handset in 2020 or by 2021. This handset will feature a graphene battery which is capable of a full charge in less than 30 mins! The Note 10+ currently charges from 0-100% in 1 hour and 5 mins but with the graphene battery, the phone could be capable of a full charge in around 13 mins! You must be thinking that the battery will explode if it is provided with such a huge amount of electric supply but that won’t happen. That’s because graphene batteries do not explode no matter what and that is the biggest benefit of these batteries over Li-ion. They still need to raise capacities while lowering the costs as graphene batteries are more expensive than Li-ion batteries.
In December 2018, Log 9 (IIT Roorkee spin-off working in nanotechnology domain) announced that it is working on a graphene-based metal-air battery, that in theory may even lead to electric vehicles run on water! The metal-air batteries use metal as an anode, air as the cathode and water as the electrolyte. A graphene rod is used in the anode of the batteries. As oxygen (air) is a cathode, the cathode must be a porous material to let the air pass, property graphene excels in. This technology will be very much useful for a company like Tesla.
Future: There is a huge scope in graphene technology in the future as almost every electrical equipment and even cars have batteries in them. Use of graphene in phones will reduce the temperature, increase battery and charging capacity which will lead to good handling and performance of the phone and new features smartphones get will run smoothly. Use of graphene batteries in cars will make them more efficient and eco-friendly as they will substitute fossil fuels. This way we will preserve the conventional energy resources and will get one step closer towards a greener Earth.
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