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Power Technology

New Electrode Lets Batteries Charge In 10 Seconds 348

Al writes "A new lithium-ion electrode allows batteries to be charged and discharged in 10 seconds flat. Developed by Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science at MIT, it could be particularly useful where rapid power bursts are needed, such as for hybrid cars, but also for portable electronic devices. In testing, batteries incorporating the electrodes discharged in just 10 seconds. In comparison, the best high-power lithium-ion batteries today discharge in a minute and a half, and conventional lithium-ion batteries, such as those found in laptops, can take hours to discharge. The new high rate electrode, the researchers calculate, would allow a one-liter battery based on the material to deliver 25,000 watts, or enough power for about 20 vacuum cleaners."
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New Electrode Lets Batteries Charge In 10 Seconds

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  • by sgbett ( 739519 ) <> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @07:53PM (#27159599) Homepage

    first thought?


  • Think about it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:07PM (#27159759) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the big thing about electric driving isn't getting started in the first place, it's reclaiming the energy when you have to stop (at least for inner city driving.) If you have a battery that is bordering on a supercapacitor to dump energy into, you can reclaim nearly all of the stopping energy into the battery to use to start again. Given that there are 745 watts/hp, a battery capable of a charge rate of 25KW gives you 33 horsepower of braking capacity with one cell. Get 3 of them in a car and you can reclaim 100hp during a stop, which would be good for all but the most grueling emergency stops (depending on the weight of the car).

  • by mkcmkc ( 197982 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:18PM (#27159909)

    new electric bass boat, the Chevy Fibrillator ...

  • by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:19PM (#27159917)
    A lot for people who don't treat them with the proper respect.

    That kind of short circuit current would probably amputate fingers if someone shorted one with a ring, melt metal in seconds (or less), and depending on the circuit, could possibly create enough of a magnetic field to launch that molten metal across a room (think rail guns).

    High fault currents can lead to a whole range of bizarre effects. People will need to take off jewelry and should wear gloves and safety glasses when handling them. Also, that kind of fault current and molten or very very hot metal and arcs would probably be a fair fire hazard. Some sort of overcurrent protection will pretty much be mandatory.

    But comparing it to a portable nuclear device is a pretty good, if extreme, analogy. One thing about such a high current capability is that less energy will be wasted as heat in the battery itself since its internal resistance must be so low.
  • Re:Boom!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LehiNephi ( 695428 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:19PM (#27159923) Journal
    The 25kW is power delivered by the battery to a load, not power dissipated by the battery. Granted, given the amount of current involved and the inherent internal resistance of the battery, there'll be a fair amount of power dissipated in the battery itself, but it would be a fairly small percentage of the 25kW
  • by hardburn ( 141468 ) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @09:02PM (#27160435)

    Fast recharge and discharge go hand-in-hand. This will particularly improve the range of electric/hybrid cars, since regenerative breaking is limited right now by how fast the battery can take in all that power.

    I don't see it improving the overall charge time of a car from a household plug, though. The limit there is that 120VAC just isn't enough. You can double up a circuit to get 240VAC, and in fact high draw appliances (like electric dryers) often already do in the US.

    If dealerships are smart, they'll contract the services of local electricians to put a 240VAC plug in customers' garages and roll the cost into the overall financing.

  • Re:Think about it (Score:1, Interesting)

    by radl33t ( 900691 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @09:25PM (#27160653)
    Forget the battery. A 100hp generator weighs 1500 pounds. Even ~10 hp generators are excessively heavy for mobile application. I assume that's what keeps the regenerative braking (for 'normal' braking) efficiency 60% in toyotas... unless they use some other method?
  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @09:25PM (#27160657) Homepage
    I suspect dilithium came from a hint dropped in somebody's ear that regular old lithium was a critical component of hydrogen bombs. But just as regular old triticale, a grain that actually exists, wasn't good enough for Star Trek and so had to be supervened by quadrotriticale in The Trouble with Tribbles, the critical element lithium without which hydrogen bombs couldn't be made probably had to be expanded to dilithium to meet the demands of starship engines. (It's never occurred to me before now but I guess if they ever had to do it again it would have been octo-something.)
  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:52PM (#27161419) Homepage
    Um, for starters, you're not going to be plugging all those cars in at the same time if each one's only plugged in for 10 seconds.

    Secondly, generally EV-sized batteries are fast-charged by using a 'dump pack', an identical fully charged pack of batteries that can supply as much current as the flat one can eat up. The important number is the continuous current draw, not peak.

    That's what makes small, high-current batteries so good. Imagine a car window motor which pulls, say, 5 amps at 12 volts. You need to run 5amp wiring to it. But assume that the motor only needs to run for a few seconds at a time, very infrequently - instead of running 5 amp wiring, you can simply put a battery next to the motor that's sufficient to run it for a minute or so, and trickle charge the battery over the car's CAN bus.

    Another use (actually this is one I read about where ultracaps are useful) is making a hard drive that doesn't lose data when the power drops during a write operation. Basically the cap would store enough energy for the drive to detect loss of external power, finish writing its buffer, and park itself before it ran flat.
  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:02PM (#27161513) Homepage
    The crazy thing is what you could do with these batteries in a drag car. Top fuel drag cars weigh ~1000kg (if my quick googlation is correct) and output up to 1500kW. A 60-liter battery back could output the same amount of power while cutting the weight of the car by at least a couple of hundred kilos.

    Just wait for electrics to be banned from drag racing because they don't make enough noise and smoke... well actually smoke I can see happening.
  • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @01:53AM (#27162731)

    This battery is good for acceleration, but not as much for long range.

    so it is ideal to store braking power in , in cars?

  • by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:58AM (#27163383) Homepage
    Wow, boy do I love the internet.

    So, Slashdot just recently had the Could Fuller Take Trek Back To TV? [] and What Has Fox Got Against Its Own Sci-Fi Shows? [] articles, then this one, which I can imagine influenced Mr Z to notice the dilithium crystal Star Trek connection. So he linked to the related Wikipedia transparent aluminum article, and I followed that link. In that article's In Fiction section, it is mentioned that the Enterprise D's windows are made of transparent aluminum, as noted in an episode that involved subspace anomalies and hull breaches.

    This reminded me of a TNG episode I saw when I was a small child watching TV with my dad. All I could remember from the episode was a lady looking frozen and half way through the floor, and I was scared silly that I would fall through the floor right there in the living room. Just last week I had actually thought of that episode and tried searching for it, unsuccessfully. That one part and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial are the few childhood memories I have of TV scaring me. I wanted to see what the episode looked like to me now.

    So I followed the Wikipedia link to the TNG episode [], and the description of the episode matched what I remembered. So I quickly found a torrent for the episode (I would never ever actually buy the DVD online just to watch one episode once to satisfy my curiosity. If it was streamed online by the copyright holder with ads I would probably go that route), downloaded it, and watched the episode. I finally saw that childhood fear with grown up eyes.

    And that's why I love the internet. I was reading a news site, read a comment that referenced some interesting sounding technology, and stumbled upon a childhood fear that I had tried searching for only a week before. Then I reexperienced the fear initiator as I am now to see how I would perceive it. Now I am writing about my experience and attaching it to the original comment that started it. And I did all this within a short and entertaining time span. I love the internet. I think this shows that, at least in some way, we are living in an age of awesomeness.
  • by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @08:30AM (#27165017)

    Actually what about the reverse?

    Lightning rod -> capacitors -> fast-charge Li-ion == 1.21 Jigawatts!!

    The Empire State Building no doubt gets hit with enough Lightning to go off the grid...

Forty two.