New aluminium-ion battery is safer and offers incredibly fast charging

A new fast charging battery tech could mean the end of inconvenient waits when it comes to juicing smartphones up.

It’s always a major pain when you realise you forgot to charge your handset, and haven’t much time before you leave the house – meaning you will likely run out of battery well before the day is out. And while there are quick-charge technologies out there, the new battery – an aluminium-ion affair rather than lithium-ion power pack – can be charged in just a minute flat, as opposed to a matter of hours.

The battery has been prototyped by scientists at Stanford University, and is also safer than the traditional lithium-ion efforts. Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford, said: “Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it.” So no more exploding smartphones and bad burns to the thighs…

The battery is also more durable, and the researchers reckon it can go 7,500 charge cycles without losing any capacity, compared to 1,000 charge cycles for today’s typical lithium-ion power pack.

The battery could also be very handy considering we’re looking at the emergence of flexible phones now. Dai notes: "Another feature of the aluminium battery is flexibility. You can bend it and fold it, so it has the potential for use in flexible electronic devices. Aluminium is also a cheaper metal than lithium."

So yes, there are cost saving benefits too.

Previous attempts at aluminium batteries have failed – they generally died after around 100 charge cycles – but the Stanford invention seems like a strong bet, and is featured in the online edition of the journal Nature.

Let’s hope it moves on from the prototype stage to become a reality, because a super-safe and superfast charging battery is one thing any smartphone could use.