Battery life remains the bane of the technology world. But Sony has announced that it’s working on a new kind of lithium and sulfur energy storage that will provide 40 percent more life for a given battery volume, and should be ready as soon as 2020.

Sony tells Nikkei that it’s working on a battery that uses sulfur at the negative electrode (and plain old lithium at the positive one) to provide an energy density per unit volume of 1,000 Wh/L. For comparison, most conventional lithium-ion batteries have an energy density of around 700Wh/L. That means a new cell of equivalent size to a current-day battery could last 40 percent longer than at present.

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According to the newspaper, Sony plans to create a commercial version of the new lithium-sulfur battery as soon as 2020. It’s planned to be a laminated battery, of the sort you find in mobile phones.

If 40 percent sounds like a modest jump, bear in mind that battery innovation has been slow in recent years. Most energy source advances have seen step-changes in rapid charging, rather than improvement of batteries themselves. If Sony can actually crank out a battery which holds 40 percent more juice for a given volume, we’ll all notice a pretty significant difference.

[Nikkei]

Top image of an existing Sony BA800 battery by TechStage under Creative Commons license