Scientists at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have created a lightweight, highly flexible and high-energy Textile Lithium Battery that offers more stable, durable and safe energy supply for wearable electronics. The new battery can be used in a multitude of applications, such as in healthcare monitoring, smart textiles, smartphones, GPS tracking and IoT.
The novel Textile Lithium Battery has shown high energy density of more than 450 Wh/L, and excellent flexibility – with a bending radius of less than 1mm, and foldability of over 1,000 cycles with marginal capacity degradation. In comparison, the existing bendable lithium battery can only reach a bending radius of about 25 mm, and with much lower performance of less than 200 Wh/L. The Textile Lithium Battery, of less than 0.5 mm thick, also possesses fast charging/discharging capability, and long cycle life comparable with conventional lithium batteries, says a press release.
The innovation has already won three prizes at the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva held in April this year, namely a Gold Medal and two Special Merit Awards.
“Wearable technology has been named as the next global big market opportunity after smartphones. Global market revenues for wearable devices are forecasted to grow by leaps and bounds, of over 20% annually, to reach US$100 billion by 2024.  As all wearable electronics will require wearable energy supply, our novel technology in fabricating Textile Lithium Battery offers promising solution to a wide array of next-generation applications, ranging from healthcare, infotainment, sports, aerospace, fashion, IoT to any sensing or tracking uses that may even exceed our imagination of today,” said Professor ZHENG Zijian, who leads the ITC research team.
In today’s market, lithium battery is the most popular type of rechargeable battery due to its relatively high energy density and long cycle life. To enable lithium battery to be used in wearable devices, scientists, over the past decade have been trying to develop bendable lithium battery, often by using metal foils as current collectors. However, it is only until the emergence of PolyU’s Textile Lithium Battery that the bottlenecks over energy density, flexibility, mechanical robustness and cycling stability being able to be addressed.
Laboratory tests conducted by the ITC team have shown the new Textile Lithium Battery to be highly durable, stable and safe.
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