Folding mobiles or with multiple cameras are the advertising claim of some firms present in the Mobile World Congress. As well apps of the most varied. Although the software of the phones is improving to consume less, few terminals survive more than 24 hours without the assistance of a plug. Long-life batteries are still a challenge in the mobile telephony sector. Graphene, the great promise. The added professor of the Department of Electronic Engineering of the UPC Àngel Cuadras explains that the technology of lithium batteries, which have incorporated the phones, has evolved little since the eighties. The fear of leaving home without a cell phone or running out of battery is called nomophobia. How can we free ourselves today from this anxiety in the moments that we expect to be hours and hours away from an outlet?
A zapatófono It can be the solution. The Power Max P18K model that Energizer presents in the Mobile has a battery with a capacity of 18,000mAh. To understand the magnitude: The novelties of Nokia and Samsung have, 3,320 and 3,400, respectively. But the cell phone's classic battery pays dearly for its promise of being able to stay up to 50 days without charging at rest: it is more than three centimeters thick. It is very uncomfortable to carry in your pocket but it can be useful in some cases, for example, in people who make long mountain journeys.
Batteries carry reactive lithium and have a tendency to explode
Cuadras explains that the batteries carry "reactive lithium, which tends to explode". It is not usual but There have been some cases throughout the short history of mobiles. However, he assures that currently "they are designed to be quite safe". According to him, one of the new lines of research in this area involves replacing the liquid that the batteries carry inside with a solid. That way you could increase your capacity and reduce your size. However, there has not yet been any technique that is safe enough. "Whoever finds it, will do a great good," he says.
Juanita Fernández is the marketing director of Goui, a Dubai company specializing in external batteries. In its stand it shows us authentic bricks. One of them has a capacity of 20,000mAh, capable of charging a mobile phone up to eight times. Account that the batteries could be thinner but that they would be heated more and it would be difficult to obtain the homologation. The company, which distributes in the Middle East and will land this year in Europe, seeks to give original shapes to its accessories: a battery is also a torch that can be attached to a bicycle. Another, wireless charging, has suction cups to ensure that the mobile does not move and the flow of energy is not interrupted.
Graphene is a material that could eventually make the batteries malleable, an essential property for mobile phones. Some companies have announced graphene batteries that have not just arrived, but that could be the solution for mobile phones that, with increasing functionalities, increasingly require more electricity. Fabrizio Tubertini, of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) sees them still far away in the commercial field. Your stand is within the Mobile space dedicated to the Graphene Flaghip, a program of the European Commission endowed with 1,000 million euros to study this material.
The graphene is a material that could get in the future that the batteries were malleable
Tubertini presents a prototype of very thin supercapacitator based on graphene, whose "excellent electrical properties allow to transport very quickly and store up to 100 times more energy". His proposal would be the evolution of external batteries and would allow charging the phone in five minutes. The invention of the IIT could be placed, for example, in bus stations, as a public service. However, the prototype presented at the Mobile has a cost of about 2,000 euros and applications in the industry will be first, says Tubertini, in the aeronautical and space sector.
Cuadras, whose research team studies the performance of batteries present in the market, sees a medium stage before moving from the lithium battery to a graphene one. The current batteries have two electrodes – electrical conductors – and for decades one is made of lithium oxide and another of graphite. The challenge is to change the graphite to graphene, which would increase, according to the professor of the UPC, the duration of the batteries. Just in this line works a gruopo of the University of Cambridge. In the space dedicated to Graphene Mobile they present a battery model that incorporates this material to extend its useful life. Anyway, for production to be affordable, we still will not see them produced on a large scale until within a few editions of the congress, where plugs are highly sought after. Sooner or later the phone is still running out of battery.