The humble battery is crucial for technologies ranging from consumer electronics to electric vehicles. But for all of its necessity, it still has major limits. Batteries still take too long to charge, are full of toxic chemicals and typically last just a few hundred cycles. After that, it's the landfill.
Battery Company wants to change that by building a battery that has a three-dimensional internal structure, allowing them to suck up energy faster and extend their lifetimes. The design is the brainchild of Amy Prieto, a chemistry professor at Colorado State University.
Ordinary batteries are made in layers: the part that provides positive charge, called a cathode, the negatively charged part, called the anode, and the electrolyte between them which is usually an acid. The electrolyte allows electrons to move between the cathode and anode. The layers are either flat, as in a phone battery, or rolled up, as in a AAA for the remote.
The problem is that this design only allows electrons - the current - to move from the side of the anode in contact with the electrolyte to the cathode. That provides fewer pathways for the electrons to move, and limits how many can do so, like cramming a crowd of people into a room and only opening the doors on one side. As a result the battery takes a while to charge and loses energy faster.