Shin-Etsu Chemical thinks new material it has developed could boost battery life by tenfold. Needless to say, even if the company achieved a fraction of that, it would be groundbreaking.
The new development replaces traditional carbon-based material in lithium-ion batteries with silicon, according to a report in the Japanese-language version of Nikkei -- which didn't provide much detail about the technology.
Though the cost is higher than carbon-based materials, the expected tenfold increase in battery life would -- theoretically -- effectively obviate the need to frequently re-charge smartphones, Nikkei said.
The material would have applications to electric car batteries too.
Shin-Etsu has begun shipping samples to domestic and foreign battery makers and plans to have a facility for trial manufacturing of the material by 2014.
Commercial mass production is targeted in three to four years.