sand batteryJust about the entire slew of mobile devices these days happen to run on battery power of some sort, and rechargeables are always favored over disposables since there is less of a waste issue to tackle in the long run, not to mention it makes much more sense for regular road warriors. Researchers are looking into affordable and yet environmentally friendly methods to roll out sand-based lithium ion batteries which are touted to outperform standard by up to 300%, now how about that for progress?

Researchers over at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have come up with a lithium ion battery which is capable of outperforming the existing industry standard by three times, with the main material being sand. Sometimes, the best ideas come about unknowingly. Apparently, a member of the research team, Favors, was chilling out on a beach when he took a closer look at the sand and realized its main make-up was quartz, otherwise known as silicon dioxide.

Using sand, he milled it down to the nanometer scale, before purifying it to change the color to white from brown, before grounding salt and magnesium into the purified quartz. Heating this powder resulted in pure silicon, and the nano-silicon formed in an extremely porous 3-D silicon sponge like consistency which eventually proved to be a major factor in improving battery performance.

Will this lead to better lithium ion batteries down the road? Perhaps, and electric cars might just find themselves being on the rise compared to gas-powered ones in due time. [Press Release]

Filed in Green. Read more about battery and science.

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