No matter how efficient our devices get in terms of power usage, there's really only so much manufacturers can do given the limitations of the energy source: lithium-ion batteries. But researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea have designed what they're calling a miniaturized solid oxide fuel cell that could replace current battery tech in everything from mobile devices to drones. What's more, the tech could even be scaled up for larger applications including electric vehicles.
The school writes that this new fuel cell is the first in the world to combine porous stainless steel with thin-film electrolyte and electrodes that are "of minimal heat capacity." The result? Both performance and durability (lithium-ion's biggest weak spots as time goes on) leaped pretty dramatically. And in terms of real-world changes, Pohang's scientists say this leads to a drone that can fly for over an hour and smartphones that only require a charge once a week. Good bye battery anxiety, hello devices with much better longevity.