Building more efficient batteries, from sand

Researchers from the University of California have developed batteries powered by silicon extracted from sand, which last three times longer than current lithium-ion batteries.

Scientists have been trying to find a substitute for graphite, the material that currently makes up the anode end of lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in mobile phones.

Silicon has always been favourable for its energy-storing capability, but it is traditionally thought to be expensive and hard to make in large quantities. Extracting silicone from sand is a more economical solution.

In the new process, quartz sand is heated and ground with salt and magnesium to remove any oxygen, resulting in pure silicon.

Read more at University of California, Riverside