Sick of poor batteries? Why jelly could be the answer.

Sick of poor batteries? Why jelly could be the answer.This could be the answer to the smartphone users' woes: a new type of battery that may just give more power for a fraction of the cost.

We've all been there... you're out, you need to make a quick call and the battery is almost flat - despite it being charged just a few hours earlier.

As phones have become smarter, it has felt in recent years that the batteries have got dumber as they struggle to fit into increasingly slender handsets yet power what are effectively mini computers.

Step in Leeds University, which has been developing a polymer jelly to power those batteries. They claim it's both more efficient and safer than the liquid electrolyte used in most lithium packs. And it could prevent overheating - one of the major issues many of us will worry about when charging.

"The polymer gel looks like a solid film, but it actually contains about 70 per cent liquid electrolyte," explained Professor Ian Ward from the Uni.

And Professor Peter Bruce from the University of St Andrews also says: "Safety is of paramount importance in lithium batteries. Conventional lithium batteries use electrolytes based on organic liquids; this is what you see burning in pictures of lithium batteries that catch fire.

"Replacing liquid electrolytes by a polymer or gel electrolyte should improve safety and lead to an all-solid-state cell."

Now for the bad news. Although it sounds great, you won't be getting your hands on it just yet. The technology is still being developed and although it's been licensed by the American Polystor Energy Corporation, which is now conducting industrial trials, it won't be on handsets anytime soon.

So best to keep that emergency charger in your bag after all for the time being.

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