Scientists have developed a battery that could allow a mobile phone to be charged and ready for use in one minute.
The new aluminium power cell is also much safer than existing lithium technology, can be bent and damaged, and does not catch fire.
The researchers at Stanford University in California say the battery can be recharged more often than usual batteries without losing its effectiveness.
It has the potential to be a major breakthrough as electricity storage becomes increasingly important in tandem with renewable energy.
Hongjie Dai, professor of chemistry at Stanford, said: “We have developed a rechargeable aluminium battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames.
“Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it. Lithium batteries can go off in an unpredictable manner – in the air, the car or in your pocket.”
Besides safety, he said the team had transformed battery performance with “unprecedented charging times” of down to one minute being reported.
Unlike previously developed aluminium batteries, which have been reported to die after just 100 charge-discharge cycles, the Stanford prototype has been found to withstand up to 7,500 charges.
The typical lithium battery lasts for 1,000 cycles.
In an article in this month’s edition of the journal Nature, the authors wrote: “This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminium-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles.”
Ming Gong, co-lead author of the Nature study, added: “Another feature of the aluminium battery is flexibility.
“You can bend it and fold it, so it has the potential for use in flexible electronic devices. Aluminium is also a cheaper metal than lithium.”