We’ve all seen the videos by now of exploding Samsung phones and Hoverboards. Why is this happening? These devices use lithium-ion battery packs, and liquid electrolytes inside these batteries are highly flammable. Scientists are trying to find way to switch to solid state materials to make more stable batteries. They are also trying to replace “conflict materials” used in lithium-ion batteries, as well as find ways to increase battery life, capacity and power, and efficiency.
In an exciting advancement of technology, the Tokyo Institute of Technology has come up with a much-safer all-solid-state battery to replace the unstable liquid electrolyte in current lithium-ion batteries.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology researchers in Saudi Arabia have created organic solar cells that could replace traditional solar panels. This new material—which captures light and turns this energy into electricity—could be applied to any surface. The material doesn’t last long and is not as stable but it’s a lightweight and relatively inexpensive alternative to solar panels.
People have been harnessing and manipulating the power of the sun for centuries. Here are six solar energy innovations, from electricity-producing windows and sustainable fashion to clean-energy harvesting trees, that will be interesting to watch going forward.