Battery Breakthrough Leads to 20-Year Lifespan, 70 Percent Fast Charge

Battery Breakthrough Leads to 20-Year Lifespan, 70 Percent Fast Charge

Titanium Dioxide Battery 310x

Titanium dioxide nanotubes mean batteries can be charged 10,000 times, last several decades.

The battery in your mobile device hasn't changed much since the smartphone first took off in the last decade. For now, the secret to longer battery life is to cram more capacity into a similarly-sized device, while the tech inside hasn't actually evolved. Your display, RAM, audio, and processing power all go up year-over-year at a considerably higher slope than the tried and true (and tired) Li-ion battery pack.

But a meaningful breakthrough has appeared on the horizon, if the findings of Nanyang Technology University and its Professor Chen Xiaodong hold any water. The new rechargeable battery pack is still Lithium ion (Li-ion), but it's capable of going from dead to a 70 percent charge in roughly two minutes -- a feat that takes 80-90 minutes with today's average smartphone. Furthermore, the prototype battery can be recharged up to 10,000 times, a dramatic increase from the 500 cycles (two to three years) that current packs are capable of.

The secret? A gel made with titanium dioxide nanotubes, which replaces the graphite anode (anode being the negative pole in the battery system) found in virtually every Li-ion pack today. Titanium dioxide nurtures quicker chemical reactions in the battery system, which leads to the advertised fast charging. And the compound is easy to find, as it naturally occurs in soil, and is used in everything from sunscreen to food coloring.

Not only does the titanium dioxide alternative charge quicker, and last longer, but it doesn't need any sort of binding additive (electrolytes, for example) that are typically required in Li-ion packs. No additives means more room for the anode substance, which leads to more energy in a given space/battery pack.

This is all in the lab experiment arena now, and the findings are the result of a three-year study. Along with attempting to manufacture prototype batteries on a larger scale, Professor Chen and the university have said the technology is already being licensed by a company, and batteries based on the tech could hit the market within the next two years.

Source: NTU

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Now if only they could increase the power density, these batteries might finally help electric cars be viable for more than just short trips.

Avaholic03:
Now if only they could increase the power density, these batteries might finally help electric cars be viable for more than just short trips.

Erm, if you can get 70% in like 20 minutes on your car and go again for 300km, thats just your peebreak right there? Still, I get what you're saying (I think).

Longevity is good. Fast charging is even better. Super high capacity would be best. If this new breakthrough really achieves all three aspects, then electric cars might actually be viable for more than urban travel. (And cell phones might actually be a real threat to handheld game systems, since the risk of using up a full charge is lower). I want to know what they expect to get out of a single full charge with different sizes.

One thing that scares me is the 20 year lifespan. While it's a great improvement over Li-ion and NiMH, it might drive up costs even if manufacturing can be done at the same cost or cheaper than old batteries. All of the hybrid's batteries last 8-10 years, with the dealers expecting you to trade it in on a new car or pony up $2000 to $4000 for a new pack. (It especially sucks if your model is one that relies on the full system to move and refuses to budge even with a working gas engine.) Auto makers might just make the base price of a car with a TO2 battery cost more to offset the extended life. It might not affect phones and other small things with our current "upgrade and dispose it" culture.

Avaholic03:
Now if only they could increase the power density, these batteries might finally help electric cars be viable for more than just short trips.

Tesla's got a pretty decent battery. The problem are charging stations and the cost of making the batteries. If those were addressed, we'd see a lot of breakthroughs in electric car technology in years that follow.

Oh good, a "new breakthrough battery technology thats juuuuust over the horizon" story. Theres only about 50 of those a year.

Caffiene:
Oh good, a "new breakthrough battery technology thats juuuuust over the horizon" story. Theres only about 50 of those a year.

I was just thinking that. I must read about at least 10 battery breakthroughs from universities every year... Only difference I see in this article is the two years to market claim, most "battery breakthrough" announcements claim 5-10 years to market.

the problem with this is that mass manufacturing such batteries would be very expensive and thus battery costs would skyrocket. titanium is a rare metal you know.

Strazdas:
the problem with this is that mass manufacturing such batteries would be very expensive and thus battery costs would skyrocket. titanium is a rare metal you know.

Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium. A quick google shows that the current price is about 6.5 USD/kg.

Pinkamena:

Strazdas:
the problem with this is that mass manufacturing such batteries would be very expensive and thus battery costs would skyrocket. titanium is a rare metal you know.

Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium. A quick google shows that the current price is about 6.5 USD/kg.

i stand corrected. this looks like a real possibility now, altrough im afraid it can go the same route so many other battery breakthrough went - that is noone hearda bout it again afterwards.

newwiseman:
I was just thinking that. I must read about at least 10 battery breakthroughs from universities every year... Only difference I see in this article is the two years to market claim, most "battery breakthrough" announcements claim 5-10 years to market.

Exactly. Lab experiments that should promising signs for battery tech (or for solar panels, actually) are a common meme in some circles that they make headlines for big promises but are always before the stage of ramping up to large-sale production. And so far pretty much all of them fail at the scaling-up stage for one reason or another.

Two years is better than usual, but it remains to be seen whether this is because they have reason to believe theyre closer or if they are just more optimistic than all the others.

please o please let this be adopted. I read about these awesome advances but never do i see them turn into anything other than a curiosity.

iseko:

Avaholic03:
Now if only they could increase the power density, these batteries might finally help electric cars be viable for more than just short trips.

Erm, if you can get 70% in like 20 minutes on your car and go again for 300km, thats just your peebreak right there? Still, I get what you're saying (I think).

What I'm saying is that gasoline still holds a whole lot more energy per weight (or energy per volume if you want to look at it that way) than even the best batteries right now. Even though electric motors are far more efficient than internal combustion engines, the range is still pretty mediocre on electric cars because battery technology is lacking.

Even if you can charge a battery in 20 minutes, that's still much longer than it takes to fill a gas tank. So, if we want to transition to all electric cars one day, you'd need roughly 4x as many filling/charging stations as we have now to accommodate the longer filling/charging times. That is, unless you improved batteries so that they held 4x as much energy (and still charged as fast)...then you'd at least be able to argue that electric cars are better than existing gas-powered cars.

Pinkamena:

Strazdas:
the problem with this is that mass manufacturing such batteries would be very expensive and thus battery costs would skyrocket. titanium is a rare metal you know.

Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium. A quick google shows that the current price is about 6.5 USD/kg.

Yes, but how much more expensive is it to manufacture that raw material into nanotubes? I'm sure eventually they'll find a good mass production method, but right now nanotechnology is difficult to make in large enough quantities to be useful.

Avaholic03:
Even if you can charge a battery in 20 minutes, that's still much longer than it takes to fill a gas tank. So, if we want to transition to all electric cars one day, you'd need roughly 4x as many filling/charging stations as we have now to accommodate the longer filling/charging times. That is, unless you improved batteries so that they held 4x as much energy (and still charged as fast)...then you'd at least be able to argue that electric cars are better than existing gas-powered cars.

Don't most people with electric cars charge them at home? Thats like 1000X more locations then gas stations. The 70 miles or whatever electric cars get per charge is more than most people need on a normal day. So public stations are only needed for a small subset of drivers. If all the existing gas stations also accommodated electric that might be enough.

 

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