Graphite is a common choice for anodes in Li-Ion battery systems but doesn't store much charge for its bulk. However, 3M's newly-devised electrode could boost battery life and replace the soft-carbon material for good.

3M's new anodes are made of silicon-lithium alloy that promise a 20-percent increase in energy density when used with conventional cathodes. If paired with 3M's proprietary high-energy cathode technology, the alloy anode can produce 40 percent more electrons than a similarly-sized conventional components.

The company's research in this field is financed, in part, by a $4.6 million investment by the US Department of Energy to build more energy-efficient vehicles. 3M has been investigating Li-Ion power sources since the 1990s. As Chris Milker, business development manager for 3M Electronic Markets Materials Division, told GigaOm, it "takes awhile for a revolutionary innovation to be implemented, but a lot of that investment will finally pay off." [3M via Business Wire - Image: design56 / Shutterstock]