Graphene – The Next Laptop Battery Innovation?

Laptop and battery manufacturers are constantly working to improve battery life and cut down on the time it takes to recharge a battery. A new material known as Graphene could help manufacturers improve both.

Graphene is a material being developed by a company called Vorbeck. They say it could result in laptop batteries that charge more quickly and also have a longer life than current lithium-ion technology used in batteries for HP laptops as well as others. As an example, a cell phone battery which uses Graphene could potentially charge in around 10 minutes instead of two hours.

Since current lithium-ion batteries transfer ions between electrodes, for power, it can take a long time for them to charge, and they are not necessarily efficient at storing power. Graphene could potentially improve on these points. It can store more ions, which could greatly increase battery life, and its high conductivity makes it easier and faster to move ions, which accounts for its faster recharge times.

Safety and overall battery life may be improved as well. Since Graphene is more conductive, it produces less heat, and batteries operate at lower temperatures. This is good for the battery and the device, promoting safer operation and is less likely to cause damage from excessive heat. The lack of heat is also what allows the batteries to charge more quickly, as current batteries are often limited to recharge rates to avoid creating too much heat. For most laptop batteries, like those used in Compaq laptops, it is standard to have a thermal sensor to read the internal battery pack temperature and adjust the charging voltage accordingly for safety.

Graphene batteries are potentially more rugged than current lithium-ion batteries. The materials are able to swell and flex without breaking down, unlike current technologies, which slowly lose capacity. This could lead to a much longer usable battery life before the battery needs to be replaced.

As better technologies continue to improve, companies like Vorbeck have the potential to revolutionize battery technologies with better materials that offer multiple improvements. Only time will tell if laptop manufacturers and retailers will adopt Graphene as the standard for future battery technology. It certainly shows promise in an area that is in need of improvement for laptop usability.