Battery breakthrough means you could fully charge your smartphone in just one minute
Scientists believe they have invented a new battery that could fully charge a smartphone in just one minute and is better for the environment than current models.
The aluminium-based batteries could eventually replace the lithium ones found in laptops and mobile phones.
And as well as the "unprecedented charging times" of their aluminium prototype, the team said it was also safer than lithium-ion batteries as it was less prone to catching fire and more environmentally friendly than alkaline models such as AA and AAA.
Publishing the findings in the journal Nature, Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, hailed it as a breakthrough in battery technology that went further than previous attempts using aluminium.
He said: "We have developed a rechargeable aluminium battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames. Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it.
"Millions of consumers use 1.5-volt AA and AAA batteries. Our rechargeable aluminium battery generates about two volts of electricity. That's higher than anyone has achieved with aluminium."
The prototype was said to be more durable, withstanding more than 7,500 cycles without any loss of capacity and surpassing previous aluminium batteries which died after just 100 charge-discharge cycles, while a typical lithium-ion battery lasts about 1,000 cycles.
"This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminium-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles," the report's authors wrote.
Prof Dai added lithium batteries can "go off in an unpredictable manner" and cited a ban by US airlines Delta and United on bulk shipments on passenger planes.
And the new design could be used to store renewable energy of the electrical grid, the researchers suggested.
Meanwhile, co-author Ming Gong said: "Another feature of the aluminium battery is flexibility. You can bend it and fold it, so it has the potential for use in flexible electronic devices. Aluminium is also a cheaper metal than lithium."