Is this the future of the next generation Li-ion battery technology? Well, a group of Singaporean researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) certainly believe, and we daresay – they have enough reason to do so. The technology in question entails a new improved Li-ion battery that can charge itself to 70 percent capacity in a matter of 2 minutes. And, that’s not all – the contraption is also touted to last over two decades, thus endowing both longevity and efficiency to reliant mechanisms like electric cars.
So what is the ‘magic’ behind this tech? Well, the answer lies in the utilization of a new kind of nanostructure. To that end, conventional lithium ion batteries use graphite as its anode; but this time around, the scientists have utilized the cheaper titanium dioxide gel, which already has a wide variety of applications ranging from food coloring to sunscreen. This compound was successfully orchestrated into tiny nanostructures that aided in the speeding up of the overall charging process by an exponential margin.
The result is a super-fast Li-ion battery component that can not only charge 20-times faster than currently available systems, but will also have an extended lifetime of over 20 years. Professor Chen Xiaodong (the main researcher behind the project) estimated that these newly developed ‘modified’ tech can help electric cars to charge in just 5 minutes time (as opposed to 2-3 hours in regular scenarios) – which is almost comparable to the fuel loading time of its gasoline/diesel counterparts.
But of course, NTU’s breakthrough is still in the process of progression, with room for improvement. Professor Rachid Yazami, who co-invented the lithium-graphite anode in 1980, had this to say about the impressive nanotechnology –
While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and its performance improved since Sony commercialized it in 1991, the market is fast expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage. 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.
Top Image Credit: Nanyang Technological University