A New Lithium-Metal Battery Takes Flight in Drones

Jan 29 11:01 2018 Print This Article

A Massachusetts-based startup says it’s doing something that no other company has been able: sell lithium-metal batteries commercially.

And they’re appearing first in drones.

SolidEnergy Systems, a spin-out from MIT, has developed a battery that it says has double the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries. That means that a battery from SolidEnergy Systems could be half the size of a standard lithium-ion battery and hold the same amount of energy, or it could be the same size as a lithium-ion battery and hold twice as much energy.

For drone makers, that means a drone that could fly further and longer on a single charge. For example, a drone surveying acres of crop land could fly for an hour instead of just 20 minutes with a standard battery.

The company’s battery can “double the radius” that a drone can fly, and “quadruple the area covered,” said SolidEnergy Systems CEO and founder Qichao Hu, who developed the technology at MIT in the lab of battery researcher Don Sadoway.

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