"Our battery group has recently developed some new materials that could potentially increase the energy density of batteries by 30 percent," said Cynthia Lundgren, electrochemical branch chief at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
"This 30 percent is actually quite a big deal. Typically improvements range about 1 percent a year with a few step changes.
"There has never been a battery, a single cell, that operated at 5 volts. Through our understanding of that interface, we were able to design an additive that you add into the electrolyte that is somewhat of a sacrificial agent," she said.
The additive reacts with the battery electrode and forms a stable interface, allowing it to operate at 5 volts.
A potential benefit would be a reduction in the weight of a battery, which would allow troops to carry additional equipment and supplies.
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