Batteries that Recharge in Seconds

Foam power: This lithium-ion battery cathode can be used to make a battery that holds as much energy as a conventional one, but can recharge a

Foam power: This lithium-ion battery cathode can be used to make a battery that holds as much energy as a conventional one, but can recharge a

Thanks to Steve Barker for suggesting this interesting article about fast charging batteries. We think that this will revolutionise mobile computing but until something along these lines becomes mainstream for larger batteries, electric cars will always be a ‘second car’ product – Deskarati

A new process could let your laptop and cell phone recharge a hundred times faster than they do now.

A new way of making battery electrodes based on nanostructured metal foams has been used to make a lithium-ion battery that can be 90 percent charged in two minutes. If the method can be commercialized, it could lead to laptops that charge in a few minutes or cell phones that charge in 30 seconds.

The methods used to make the ultrafast-charging electrodes are compatible with a range of battery chemistries; the researchers have also used them to make nickel-metal-hydride batteries, the kind commonly used in hybrid and electric vehicles.

How fast a battery can charge up and then release that power is primarily limited by the movement of electrons and ions into and out of the cathode, the electrode that is negative during recharging. Researchers have been trying to use nanostructured materials to improve the process, but there’s usually a trade-off between total energy storage capacity (which determines how long a battery can run before needing a recharge) and charge rates. “People solved half the problem,” says Paul Braun, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Braun’s group has made highly porous metal foams coated with a large amount of active battery materials. The metal provides high electrical conductivity, and even though it’s porous, the structure holds enough active material to store a sufficient amount of energy. The pores allow for ions to move about unimpeded.

Read more here Batteries that Recharge in Seconds – Technology Review.

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