What’s the downside to the electric gadgets and this entire gizmo tech? Yes, the battery problem; they just take too long to charge up and get drained at an alarmingly fast rate. The solution is brought to you from researchers who are working in Singapore at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) and claim that their batteries can be charged in 2 minutes.
They claim that the batteries can be easily charged up to 70% in as little time as two minutes. The research team also says that these batteries are capable of retaining a charge for ten times longer when compared with prevailing batteries. The team also stated that this breakthrough will find its implementation in a multitude of fields such as electric cars, for instance, where it will allow users to charge it up in less time and enhance the battery life.
The Associate Professor who led this study, Chen Xiaodong, said, “Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars. Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”
The rechargeable batteries, lithium-ion, are usually employed when it comes to electric vehicles, tablets and smartphones. They usually have a capacity of 500 recharge cycles which translates into about 2-3 years of fair usage while it takes about 2 hours for the battery to be completely charged (each cycle). Why is this new battery so different? The anode has been changed with a gel material that has been created from titanium dioxide instead of the conventional graphite.
Titanium dioxide is found abundantly in soil and exists in spherical shape naturally, however, this team has managed to change it into small nanotubes. These nanotubes are about a thousand times thin when compared to the diameter of the human hair. This reduced size speeds up the chemical reactions happening inside the battery and it leads to speedy charging.
The team will be trying to get a proof-of-concept grant so that they can construct a battery prototype that is large-scale. This patented technology has already stirred up the industry and is being licensed by a company which will eventually produce it as well. Professor Chen is hopeful that these new batteries shall be able to hit the shelves in about two years. This battery will have a life of 10,000 cycles.
NTU professor Rachid Yazami, co-inventor of Lithium-graphite anode, who isn’t part of this research said, “While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and its performance improved since Sony commercialised it in 1991, the market is fast expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage. However, there is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in electric vehicles should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen’s nanostructured anode has proven to do so.”