Once all the bugs have been worked out, rechargeable solid-state batteries using both solar and vibrational energy harvesting could become the rule rather than the exception.
Batteries may soon be transformed from the slowest growing technology to become the fastest growing advanced technology. That is if UK'S University of Southampton Science Park's Ilika Technologies can realise its dream of self-powered SoCs.
By eliminating the liquid cores of every other battery technology under the sun—especially the flammable lithium ion (Li-ion)—into the solid-state micron-thin-layers of an SoC, each chip in an electronic circuit could become self-powered, simplifying printed circuit boards and eliminating the big-iron power supplies required today.
Ilika's solid-state batteries now come in the full range of temperatures (from -40°C up to 150°C.), making them accessible to automotive, industrial IoT and other rugged environments.
*ARM and Ilika have teamed to build self-powered system-on-chip beacons which are half way between a wearable and an industrial IoT in order to accurately monitor livestock.
"Our solid-state batteries can now be adapted to all sizes and operating environments," Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, told EE Times in advance of the company's extended temperature range announcement. "For instance, Toyota—one of our earliest partners—has funded our solid-state battery development efforts for eight years and came up with series of solutions they are now scaling up to produce big batteries for electric automobiles. But they have also screened our materials and helped scale them down to chip size. By 2025, we predict they be in production."
Figure 1: *All the same ingredients are used—anode, cathode, electrolyte—but stacked on a solid-state chip to cut costs and lengthen lifetime of the powered device. (Source: Ilika) *
The transformation from flammable Li-ion to inflammable solid-state batteries is not going to happen overnight. In fact, the first mass-produced end-user products using them is predicted by Purdy to appear near the end of the decade. The first products to hit the market will likely use free standing solid-state batteries.