When you’re shopping around for a new phone or tablet, battery life is one of the most important bullet points you can look at. After all, you can have the best equipment running beneath a beautiful screen, but if the battery life is poor, those top-of-the-line components aren’t going to do you much good. The Department of Energy has decided it’s time to come up with new batteries that are not only more powerful, but less expensive as well.

Specifically speaking, the Department of Energy wants researchers to make batteries five times more powerful and five times less expensive in just five years. That sounds like it’s going to be a pretty big undertaking, which is why the Department of Energy will allocate a total of $120 million in funding over these five years. Apparently, the DOE wants wants this new battery program to be similar to the infamous Manhattan Project in execution.

That doesn’t mean that this will end with a new super weapon, but rather that the DOE expects progress to be made at a quick pace. The program will have to advance quickly if the DOE expects this to be done in just five years, which is why it’s pulling some of the country’s best researchers together for it. In all, six national labs, five universites, and four private firms will participate in this program, so the DOE will have some of the country’s leading minds working on beefing up the world’s batteries.

Naturally, since so many things are powered by batteries these days, this isn’t done specifically with smartphones and tablets in mind, but our essential mobile devices could certainly benefit from this research. Even today, we’re seeing manufacturers pay more attention to batteries, with the DROID RAZR MAXX in particular shipping with a huge 3,300mAh battery. Provided everything works out with this program, it may not be long before our mobile devices are shipping with excellent batteries left and right.

[via ComputerWorld]