The battery race shows no sign of letting up, even though the gains feel increasingly marginal. Whether it's phones or portable consoles, maximising the life eked out of a slim lithium-ion battery is getting harder and harder.
For some time, graphene has been touted as one possible solution, a material that hasn't been efficiently harnessed yet but which could help improve charging times and battery life in one fell swoop. Now Real Graphene, a tech business from Los Angeles, is apparently preparing to change that.
It has a range of portably power banks on the market, and ambitious plans to crowdfund the wider production of banks that go even further with their use of Graphene. For now, Real Graphene's banks come in two sizes, a 10,000mAh version and another with 20,000mAh, and have a number of apparent advantages over lithium banks.
For one thing, they charge far more quickly themselves, with the smaller variant charging completely in 50 minutes, far less time than the hours most banks need to power themselves up.
Graphene as a material is also extremely lightweight, so down the line it could lead to lighter batteries, always a welcome change. However, for now, even Real Graphene's own batteries are not pure graphene — they're a blend of graphene and lithium which gains in speed but remains affordable to build and sell.
Even so, the reality is that graphene-enhanced batteries will be more expensive than current lithium equivalents, to the tune of a 30% bump in cost at Real Graphene's own estimation. That's a sizeable leap, so it shouldn't be a huge surprise if the tech can't make too many mainstream waves until it's even more affordable in comparison.