Spray On Battery
Spray-on rechargeable batteries
Rice University in Texas
A team of mechanical engineers at Rice University in Texas has invented spray-on rechargeable batteries that could be combined with solar cells to create self-sufficient, energy conversion-storage devices.
By breaking down the different components of a battery — the electrodes, separator, electrolyte and current collectors — and rendering them into liquid form, we could revolutionise the way we power our devices. Rather than being tied to fixed shapes and sizes, batteries could one day take on practically any form, and be applied almost anywhere.
Conventional lithium-ion batteries are made with multiple layers of different components, including the anode, separator, cathode, and metal foils to collect charge. This “jelly roll” structure means that lithium-ion batteries are limited to cylindrical and rectangular, or prismatic, shaped cells.
The engineers, from Rice University in Texas, devised their own unique version of a multilayered battery by painting these individual battery components (two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator) on to select surfaces in layers.
The final paints were layered on to glass, stainless steel, glazed ceramic tiles and flexible polymer sheets, the resulting `batteries` worked just as well as the regular version.
The team went on to propose that by fitting a Lego unit- a series of these batteries grouped together- to a series of solar cells, a new and independent type of energy conversion-storage devices could be created.