The current average lifespan of a rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is roughly 5 years. Hitachi has just announced that they think they will be able to produce a Li-ion battery with almost twice the life span. Working with Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery they’ve been able to make versions for small applications like cameras, cellphone and laptops. They hope to eventually make them larger for use in hybrids, EVs and even for storing excess energy produced by wind farm generators.
For those who are interested in the specifics, the new battery uses more manganese for the positive electrode and reduces the use of the far more expensive cobalt. The new cathode material is the composite oxide lithium manganese spinel (LIMn2O4), a crystalline material that is much more stable than the previous cathode material. This is what makes the the longevity possible, it reduces the leaching of the cathode material into the electrolyte. In addition, the new batteries will be cheaper due to the reduced amount of cobalt.