Well the world today is a lot different to the stone ages and certainly has progressed towards becoming a primitive stage advanced civilisation. Technology has become a core element of moving the world forward to help build a future of convenience, ease and innovation. However another element interestingly synonymous to technology plays a crucial role in how we choose to create the technology of the future – batteries.
The Bronze Age
Many believe batteries have been created within the earth a great many years ago. In 1938, the director of the Baghdad Museum discovered what is now symbolised as the world’s first battery dating back to 250BC, named – “The Baghdad Battery” identified too have been of Mesopotamian origin.
Moving onto the modern world, the iconic scientist and inventor Benjamin Franklin invented the term “battery” in 1749 while experimenting around electricity and linked capacitors. These capacitors were powered through a static generator and passed the power on by touching the metal to a conductor. Linking them together formed what is known as a “Battery”.
This led to the first true battery which was invented by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta in 1800. Using elements Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn), Volta stacked discs of both elements separated by a cloth soaked in salty water to create a positive and negative conductor – which produces a continuous flow of current. Volta decided to call this invention – the voltaic pile.
The Silver Run
One of the world’s most of resourceful invention was born – the lead acid battery, invented in 1859 by French physician Gaston Plante. Lead acid batteries were a breakthrough and are still the primary technology used to start majority of the world’s internal combustion engines within cards today.
Following this in 1899, Waldmar Junger from Sweden invented the Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery. Waldmar’s battery used nickel as a positive electrode (cathode) and cadmium as a negative electrode (anode). Nickel-cadmium batteries were great, however due to its high material costs in comparison to lead led to the decline of its usage.
Enter – Sir Thomas Edison. Two years after the discovery of Nickel-cadmium batteries, Edison replaced cadmium with Iron and invented the Nickel-Iron (NiFe) battery. Even though Nickel-Iron batteries were not as expensive as Nickel-cadmium, the low energy, poor performance at low temperatures and high self-discharge did not portray Nickel-Iron batteries are as an effective source of energy.
The Golden Era
1991 and it all begins. Following years of experimentation, innovation and curiosity of past inventors, led to the creation of Sony’s lithium-ion battery. A revolutionary technology that uses an anode, cathode, separator, electrolyte and two current collectors (positive and negative). The electrolyte carries positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode, causing a movement of electrons – generating electricity.
Lithium-ion batteries have incredible energy density, simple charging, low discharge rates, it’s amazingly thin structure and light weight. All this allowed for the boom of the technological era that we know and cherish today.
The Nano Future
The world has currently progressed exponentially advancing through technology to develop smart phones, smart watches, electric vehicles, smart homes and the many other wonders of imagination.
However one element remains a constant for the innovation to prevail – the energy source needed to power the plethora of devices to be invented in the future in a better, more sustainable way.
Nano batteries are a promising way forward.
“So far, the researchers have built batteries that are 50 nanometers thick — thinner than a strand of human hair. They have also demonstrated that the area of the batteries can be scaled from as large as centimeters to as small as nanometers. The batteries have also demonstrated a power density that is two orders of magnitude greater than most currently used batteries”. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It’s quite certain that innovation begins at a certain age of time and keeps progressing by the will of human curiosity and drive for innovation. Batteries were first said to be discovered in 250BC and has progressed to become the technological marvel it is today – energising almost the entire world as we know it today.
The next leap in battery technology will be Nano batteries. Allowing for higher performance, higher efficiency and larger energy density batteries at a smaller scale in size. Opening the doors for a world of innovation for newer technologies and keeping the magic of mankind’s curiosity ever active.