Yesterday, Technology Review reported on the work of Harvard materials scientist Jennifer Lewis on 3D printed batteries. Definitely worth the read, but you can also get a summary of how it works over at Gizmodo. While her work is still in its early stages, the ramifications of her one–square–millimeter, 3D–printed batteries are enormous and could mark the start of a Battery Revolution.
Flexible screens have been held back in part by the size of the batteries needed to power them. Smaller Lithium Ion batteries that are printed in a manner of minutes could be the key to making flexible screens mainstream. Reduced battery size also means more powerful and longer–lasting devices. This should have every manufacturer rethinking their digital strategy.
Tesla Motors have been plagued by a lack of supply of Lithium Ion batteries. So much so that they’re considering building a massive Battery factory of their own. Lewis’ smaller Li-Ion batteries are created at room temperature in just a few minutes and work just as well as larger batteries. This breakthrough should be high on Tesla’s radar. Incorporating these batteries into the next generation models while licensing the patents from Lewis and her team, could give Tesla what it needs to pose a serious threat to larger auto manufacturers. And with the space they save space, they can add in some fire prevention/extinguishing features to put their current PR issue to rest forever.
As development continues, it stands to reason that the batteries will become smaller and more powerful over the next few years, allowing a bigger impact in even more fields such as micro-robotics. The patented process and inks that Lewis and her team have developed can also be used to create electrodes, antennas, and wires opening up even more revolutionary opportunities.