Thursday, March 12th 2009

Re-engineered Battery Material Could Lead to Rapid Recharging of Many Devices

MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries -- for cell phones and other devices -- that could recharge in seconds rather than hours. The work could also allow for the quick recharging of batteries in electric cars, although that particular application would be limited by the amount of power available to a homeowner through the electric grid.
The work, led by Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is reported in the March 12 issue of Nature. Because the material involved is not new -- the researchers have simply changed the way they make it -- Ceder believes the work could make it into the marketplace within two to three years.


State-of-the-art lithium rechargeable batteries have very high energy densities -- they are good at storing large amounts of charge. The tradeoff is that they have relatively slow power rates -- they are sluggish at gaining and discharging that energy. Consider current batteries for electric cars. "They have a lot of energy, so you can drive at 55 mph for a long time, but the power is low. You can't accelerate quickly," Ceder said.

Why the slow power rates? Traditionally, scientists have thought that the lithium ions responsible, along with electrons, for carrying charge across the battery simply move too slowly through the material.

About five years ago, however, Ceder and colleagues made a surprising discovery. Computer calculations of a well-known battery material, lithium iron phosphate, predicted that the material's lithium ions should actually be moving extremely quickly.

"If transport of the lithium ions was so fast, something else had to be the problem," Ceder said.

Further calculations showed that lithium ions can indeed move very quickly into the material but only through tunnels accessed from the surface. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, there's no problem: it proceeds efficiently into the tunnel. But if the ion isn't directly in front, it is prevented from reaching the tunnel entrance because it cannot move to access that entrance.

Ceder and Byoungwoo Kang, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, devised a way around the problem by creating a new surface structure that does allow the lithium ions to move quickly around the outside of the material, much like a beltway around a city. When an ion traveling along this beltway reaches a tunnel, it is instantly diverted into it. Kang is a coauthor of the Nature paper.

Using their new processing technique, the two went on to make a small battery that could be fully charged or discharged in 10 to 20 seconds (it takes six minutes to fully charge or discharge a cell made from the unprocessed material).

Ceder notes that further tests showed that unlike other battery materials, the new material does not degrade as much when repeatedly charged and recharged. This could lead to smaller, lighter batteries, because less material is needed for the same result.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," Ceder and Kang conclude in their Nature paper.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program and the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. It has been licensed by two companies.Source: MIT News Office
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71 Comments on Re-engineered Battery Material Could Lead to Rapid Recharging of Many Devices

#1
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
Excellent find :D
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#4
OnBoard
Nice. This would make wireless mouse more popular among gamers. Charge while map loads or end of a round in an online game :)

I'd like some of those batteries for sure. Rechargeable ones are great, but you don't always have overnight to wait for them to be loaded.

Wonder if they keep their load better or worse? I have 2 sets of batteries for my digicam, others recharged on others in. Both lose power while not in use, as that period can be long sometimes.
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#5
h3llb3nd4
not really, gamers look for responsiveness, not battery life
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#6
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: h3llb3nd4
not really, gamers look for responsiveness, not battery life
Yeah true. My mouse can last 2 weeks before dying. What they could do though is increase the power of the bluetooth thingy maybe making it faster and compensate by having quick recharging batteries. IDK what im talking about though :p
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#7
BOSE
That will make many women happy. No longer will they have to wait hours to recharge their vibrators.:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#8
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: BOSE
That will make many women happy. No longer will they have to wait hours to recharge their vibrators.:laugh:
:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#9
PCpraiser100
Finally! I guess we don't need EEE PC's anymore!
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#10
h3llb3nd4
by: BOSE
That will make many women happy. No longer will they have to wait hours to recharge their vibrators.:laugh:
WTF?!?!? make it clean man!:(
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#11
RevengE
I can see this being of Great Use to Hybrid Cars.
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#12
BOSE
And i can see this being of Great Use in Porn industry. All them fancy cameras. It will take only seconds to recharge a battery on a camcorder before the wood goes limp. :laugh:
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#13
iStink
I read about this earlier today and what struck me was the idea of recharging a battery in seconds.

Imagine driving down the road in an electric vehicle when at 15% battery life left, some sort of alternator kicks in and recharges the battery. You wouldn't really need to stop until the battery simply couldn't hold a charge anymore.

Of course, without a combustible engine and compressor hooked up to a belt, you would need different methods for A/C and heat, which would in turn drain the battery even quicker, and the constant draining and recharging of the battery so many times would definitely shorten the lifespan of the battery.
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#14
RevengE
by: BOSE
And i can see this being of Great Use in Porn industry. All them fancy cameras. It will take only seconds to recharge a battery on a camcorder before the wood goes limp. :laugh:
What is up with you And Porn/Vibrators LOL.:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#15
BOSE
by: xRevengEx
What is up with you And Porn/Vibrators LOL.:laugh:
I have a very healthy imagination and personal needs. It keeps me young and vibrant.;)



Speaking of hybrids.
The gas engine could be ON at all times, but only idling, never being used to actually drive the car. Instead it will keep the battery constantly charging, since they recharge at such high rate.

Thus a much smaller gas powered engine can be used only as a charger. A 2 cylinder 250-500cc diesel engine will get the job done perfectly.
Or even one of those small gas powered generators used for homes or camping. 5 gallons of gas lasts all day, and they are quiet.
Posted on Reply
#16
xenos
The work could also allow for the quick recharging of batteries in electric cars, although that particular application would be limited by the amount of power available to a homeowner through the electric grid.
I'm sure you could install some equipment at a petrol station to achieve this without an individual having to spend out on it.
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#17
LoneEagle70
Why would it be more efficient to burn gas to recharge batteries instead of running a regular engine?

I wondering:
Two cars, about same weight, one electric (starting with dead batteries) with a small generator and one regular small engine, same amount of gas:
Which one will be more efficient?
Posted on Reply
#18
BOSE
Engine burns a lot more fuel when it drives the car. When an engine is idling, it uses very little fuel. At least half or less of fuel is used when engine idles. Because there is no load on the engine, thus no need for more fuel to be burned.

More load you put on the engine, more fuel is required to move a vehicle. A semi truck, gets about 5MPG. Because it has to tow a lot of weight. Typical fuel capacity can be anywhere from 50 to 200 gallons per tank and most semi's have a tank on each side,which doubles the capacity.



Think of it this way. If you are standing still, you use less air and less energy. But you start running, you use more air and energy. That energy has to come from some where. Your body uses vitamins and minerals from food as energy source or fuel. So if you dont feed your self 3 times a day, but keep running none stop, soon or later you will stop running permanently.

A bulb burns brighter when it uses more energy. 40W vs 100W.

Dont they teach you these things in school?? This is 4th grade science.
Posted on Reply
#19
Silverel
Wireless Mouse + Powermat = Never recharge again.

Now if it worked with wireless transmitted power as well, you could line the door of your house and charge all your portable stuff every time you walked in from outside. Got an electric car? Powermat in the garage for insta-charge. Hell, they could use this tech on the freeway, just stick em in the lil bump things between lanes. Always charging everyone.

I lol'd
Posted on Reply
#20
BOSE
by: Silverel
Wireless Mouse + Powermat = Never recharge again.

Now if it worked with wireless transmitted power as well, you could line the door of your house and charge all your portable stuff every time you walked in from outside. Got an electric car? Powermat in the garage for insta-charge. Hell, they could use this tech on the freeway, just stick em in the lil bump things between lanes. Always charging everyone.

I lol'd
That is a great idea, and im sure some day we will see that.

As of now, i think in Sweden, i need to find the article. They are working on a system, that collects energy from moving cars and puts the energy back in to electrical greed.

What we do need is better solar panels. The once used today just cant collect all the energy sun gives us. We get less then 20% of actual energy from sun VS what we could be collecting if we had better technology.

edit.

Here is a working system in UK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/08/alternative-energy-speed-bumps

http://www.philoneist.com/50226711/new_ramp_generates_power_from_passing_cars.php
Posted on Reply
#21
mlee49
by: Silverel
Wireless Mouse + Powermat = Never recharge again.

Now if it worked with wireless transmitted power as well, you could line the door of your house and charge all your portable stuff every time you walked in from outside. Got an electric car? Powermat in the garage for insta-charge. Hell, they could use this tech on the freeway, just stick em in the lil bump things between lanes. Always charging everyone.

I lol'd
Wireless charging is a great technology but the transfer is not as fast. Couple that powermat with a netbook and you would have a real nifty idea.

This new technology willbe introduced to cellphone batteries first and then break out to laptops. Would be nice to have a full charge in 15 seconds vs 4 hours. :D
Posted on Reply
#22
Steevo
Electric cars, great idea. Burn coal to make electricity, to run cars and just move the pollution to somewhere else. Ohhh wait, we have a coal plant, and some smog. But so long as it is clean elsewhere its OK!!!!! Then when everyone is using their homes A/C and plugging in the electric car at night they have to fire up the natural gas turbines to make another 300-500MW of electricity and blow huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere with no form of cleaning the exhaust.
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#23
qwerty_lesh
It looks like some sort of seaweed :eek:
faster recharging for phones, portable consoles and mp3 players would be great :)
Posted on Reply
#24
R_1
Imagine two conductive straps integrated in to the road and when electric vehicle passes over them batteries got charged trough conductive tires.
Posted on Reply
#25
DarkMatter
by: BOSE
Engine burns a lot more fuel when it drives the car. When an engine is idling, it uses very little fuel. At least half or less of fuel is used when engine idles. Because there is no load on the engine, thus no need for more fuel to be burned.

More load you put on the engine, more fuel is required to move a vehicle. A semi truck, gets about 5MPG. Because it has to tow a lot of weight. Typical fuel capacity can be anywhere from 50 to 200 gallons per tank and most semi's have a tank on each side,which doubles the capacity.



Think of it this way. If you are standing still, you use less air and less energy. But you start running, you use more air and energy. That energy has to come from some where. Your body uses vitamins and minerals from food as energy source or fuel. So if you dont feed your self 3 times a day, but keep running none stop, soon or later you will stop running permanently.

A bulb burns brighter when it uses more energy. 40W vs 100W.

Dont they teach you these things in school?? This is 4th grade science.
Every energy transfer/conversion has a loss and in the case of mechanical-to-electrical one that loss is big. Alternators and dynamos are very innefficient and suppose a big energy loss. Of course it's better than anything when there is no other option, but as long as there is an alternative, like just using electricity or just use the combustion engine, then that's better.

You say that when idling the engine consumes less. That's, of course, true. They procuce less energie/power too. An idling engine can't produce enough power to drive a car satisfactorily, so after a conversion and its attached energie loss, much less. The batterie would be charged with less energie than the one that the fuel engine was capable of produce, hence it would be able to produce less movement.

A combustion engine converts chemical energie into mechanical energie (movement). There is a loss.
An electrical engine converts electrical into mechanical. There is a loss.

Your suggested setup would follow this conversions and subsequent losses:

- Chemical to mechanical.
- Mechanical to electrical.
- Electrical to mechanical. (I obviated the chemical to electrical one, because it will happen in any case)

The second one is just totally unnecessary, you can just swap wich engine does the work and that is much more efficient.

Dont they teach you these things in school?? This is 4th grade science.

Sorry to use your words against you, but it just made me laugh the way you acted as an authority above him, while being so wrong.
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