Currently, lithium-ion batteries are the smallest and lightest batteries on the market. However, they have drawbacks. Dutch and Swiss scientists are attempting to improve the technology. American scientists are trying a different approach.

In the Netherlands, scientists have developed a way to predict the effects of nanostructuring on lithium-ion batteries, using neutron-diffraction technology and making them even smaller and lighter. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have created a “molecular charge transport layer” to overcome the large amount of conductive materials, which can occupy about half of the battery cell lithium-ion batteries currently require. The new transport layer will improve conductivity and reduce the space needed for a conductor, granting longer life to lithium-ion batteries.

However, scientists at St. Louis University have developed an entirely new kind of battery that runs on nearly any sugar source and operates more efficiently. The researchers said the batteries might prove to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The researchers also revealed this battery is biodegradable.

“This study shows that renewable -fuels can be directly employed in batteries at room temperature to lead to more energy-efficient battery technology than metal-based approaches,” said Shelley Minteer, study leader and electrochemist at St. Louis University.

Of course, for the electrical contractor, this means cordless tool manufacturers could adopt a new battery design in the coming years, making your drill, driver or saw charge faster, last longer and feel lighter.  EC