Last year, Google started providing developer kits for its Project Ara modular smartphone to third-party developers. Since then, developers have been scrambling to create technology to use with the device, including processor chips, display screens, and possibly even a compatible smart watch.
In a recent interview with Forbes, SolidEnergy’s CEO, Dr. Qichao Hu said the company is working on a battery to power the Project Ara smartphone that could provide twice the run time or significantly reduce the battery’s size.
The SolidEnergy cell is made from Solid Polymer Ionic Liquid (SPIL) instead of graphite or silicon-composite anodes, which are what most mobile device batteries use.
The ultra-thin metal anode is combined with a non-flammable, non-volatile electrolyte, which produces what the company calls a “near anode-less design.” The results cut the cell size by half.
The SolidEnergy prototype cell supposedly offers an energy density of 1200 watts per hour per liter compared to that of traditional ion-lithium batteries, which max out at 600 watts.
The company also hopes to extend the SPIL technology to a wider audience. In 2015, the focus is on batteries for mobile devices. By 2017, SolidEnergy plans on bringing the technology to electric cars.
Forbes also reports that some research analysts believe there could still be some challenges to overcome before batteries based on SolidEnergy’s technology can be mass produced. But a company official already has a working prototype and is looking for battery makers to help manufacture the upcoming Project Ara modules.