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Power Transportation Hardware

Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life 395

New submitter chaosdivine69 writes: According to Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU), they have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes and have a 20-year lifespan (10,000 charges). The impact of this is potentially a game changer for a lot of industries reliant on lithium ion batteries. In the car industry, for example, consumers would save on costs for battery replacement and manufacturers would save on material construction (the researchers are using a nanotube structure of Titanium dioxide, which is an abundant, cheap, and safe material found in soil). Titanium dioxide is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. It is believed that charging an electric car can be done in as little as 5 minutes, making it comparable to filling up a tank of gasoline.
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

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  • by Obscene_CNN ( 3652201 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @06:41PM (#48145047) Homepage
    No mention on capacity though. If its capacity is low enough the these claims are easy to achieve.
    • by gaelfx ( 1111115 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @06:47PM (#48145117)

      ...Prof Chen's new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes eliminate the need for these additives and can pack more energy into the same amount of space.

      Seems like it should be, at the very least, on par with current capacities, if not greater. You are correct though, there does not seem to be a direct statement regarding capacity, making me very suspicious.

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @09:08PM (#48146117)

        Moving all of the energy that a 85 kW-hr lithium-ion EV battery can hold into a battery in 2 or 5 minutes would require some truly dangerous amperage,
        and some enormous amount of heat could be generated.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Moving all of the energy that a 85 kW-hr lithium-ion EV battery can hold into a battery in 2 or 5 minutes would require some truly dangerous amperage,
          and some enormous amount of heat could be generated.

          Go parallel.

          The 85kW battery pack in a Tesla for instance, has a huge bunch of standard lithium ion cells in parallel and in series. Have multiple charger conductors to each charge a section of the entire pack, which reduces the amperage per conductor, but keeps the power input to the whole pack at a maximum.

          • by icebike ( 68054 )

            Do 4 or 6 plug-ins hanging from each car?
            Don't see that happening any time soon.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Moving all of the energy that a 85 kW-hr lithium-ion EV battery can hold into a battery in 2 or 5 minutes would require some truly dangerous amperage,
          and some enormous amount of heat could be generated.

          Whoa! That's assuming the resistance of current battery tech to be the same. Clearly it is not with this new titanium dioxide plus sodium hydroxide gel being used. If the resistance was the same then charging times would not be so low. All the team did was replace the anode material with the new stuff and WHAMO! charge time goes to single digit minutes. Nowhere in the article, summary or journal article (free, by the way) does it say that any charging ampere changes are made to get the shortened recharge ti

          • by michelcolman ( 1208008 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @03:30AM (#48147537)

            OK, some basic electricity:

            Power = amps * voltage. Ergo, to load more energy in a shorter time, you either have to use more amps or more voltage.

            The Tesla supercharger is already at 400V, I don't think they want to go any higher because otherwise they would. All you need to do is put more cells in series. 400V looks like the highest they're comfortable with.

            This means there's only one variable left: more amps. And if, like you say, the resistance of the new batteries is lower, that is precisely what would allow them to use more amps. If resistance is cut in 4, they can use twice the amperage for the same heat generation (per second).

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          In a naive calculation, one can easily determine that the charging cable would be way too heavy and unwieldy for a person to use.

          Of course, that's the problem with naive calculations. The solution in practice for very high power charging is very simple, just cool the cable rather than requiring it to be passively air-cooled.

          Personally, I think very high-power chargers should also provide coolant for the vehicle, through the charging port. It makes a lot more sense to me to make a small number of chillers (a

    • It's still a lithium ion battery, they've just changed the material being used for the anode.
    • by grantspassalan ( 2531078 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:04PM (#48145287)

      Even if it did have enough capacity, it would take a 2 MW power supply to charge a 100 kW battery in five minutes, assuming there were no losses. A “gas station” that could “fill” five electric cars simultaneously would have to have a 10 MW grid connection. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

      • Or a bank of capacitors that collected energy to be released over time.

        Still not happening any time soon but could cut down on the size and make it more of a reality sooner than later. Of course that is assuming a capacitor of sufficient size exists and is safe enough to be used.

        • Or a bank of capacitors that collected energy to be released over time.

          A flywheel would likely be much cheaper for the same capacity. The energy density of a carbon fiber flywheel is higher than a Li-ion battery of the same size. A bank of capacitors would have to be much bigger.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:28PM (#48145481)

        A “gas station” that could “fill” five electric cars simultaneously would have to have a 10 MW grid connection.

        A 10MW or larger grid connection is not particularly uncommon. A factory, mall, or large building might need that much. Almost any power company would have some customers with those kind or requirements. If the "gas station" is on a busy street, there might already be nearby lines available.

        • I think they're a lot less common than you assume. There has to be supply as well because we're still talking about serious power here.
          • They are far more common than YOU believe.
            Every bakery, or office building (with something like 100 rooms) has such a connection.
            Hint: learn to compare apples with oranges.
            A car engine has roughly 100kW. (Usually around, 75kW).
            Ten cars are 1MW ... 100 cars are 10MW.
            A standard light bulb needs 75W, a computer roughly 400W.

            10MW power is NOTHING.

            • 10 MW is only 400 Amps @ 14400 Volts.
              Pretty typical for industry.

              Anything over 2.5 MW and you are going to have to get more than 480 Volt service anyways, that's 3000 Amps. The cost of the wire you would need to run would easily pay for a transformer.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @08:21PM (#48145829) Homepage

        Logically you do not charge electric vehicles at a "commercial vehicle charging station" but at any regularly used parking point via induction charging. Obviously any commercial car park would build in induction charges and charge more slowly based upon estimated parking time and combine charging costs with parking costs. Employers would naturally subsidise the cost of the employee car parks by offering vehicle charging, over the life of a car park it makes sense. Even shopping malls could add in metered vehicle induction charging to charge vehicles during their stay. Pretty much the plain 'gas station' would die over time, replaced by diners with charging while you eat, mini marts with charging while you shop, basically any type of business that has to pay for car parks looking to subsidise that cost with induction charging fees.

        This battery breakthrough by "TU professor Rachid Yazami, the co-inventor of the lithium-graphite anode", points to exactly why mega battery factories are so financially risky at this time, real battery breakthroughs are coming down the line, that will change everything. Tying into the right technology (now is the right time) and making sure your investment can compete for the next say 15 years is critical.

        Not just used in cars of course but also to be used in residential properties to really drive renewable energy sources and people in the burbs being able to escape the grid (where battery life and capacity are everything and charging time is not so important). Most people of course will be charging at home most of the time and as long as fuelling points match dining times and battery capacity, fuelling on road would be pretty much as it already is on long trips.

        • 'gas stations' will still have a role for rapid charging but yes, most charging would be trickle charging. If you are travelling long distance, have a problem with your charging at home, are staying at a house without trickle charging etc etc, then there will always be exceptions. And gas stations will still sell petrol, diesel, natural gas etc. But i would expect there will be a lot less of them and they will need to change their business model.

        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @10:39PM (#48146541) Homepage

          This is not going to suddenly "change everything". First off, there's so little info here you can't even see through the hype. There's nothing to get an idea of how hard this would be to commercialize, what its energy density would be, or any of tons of other things that make a big difference. And secondly, these are hardly the first lab-scale batteries to have properties like this. Heck, there have even been lithium titanate batteries commercialized before. Crazy charge / discharge times, but they were largely a flop except in niche applications - the cost was way too high and the energy density too low.

          There is every week or two some great research breakthrough in battery storage. Most of them you'll never read about. Most of them will never go anywhere. But a few will. And they will slowly, inevitably make their way into the battery technology of tomorrow. Silicon anodes, for example, were once among those crazy lab future battery techs. Now they're in commercial cells. People never stop to think about how little the batteries in their phones have gotten in an area of increasing computing power, larger screens, greater demands on lifespan, etc. Energy density continues its inevitable march.... in the background. But the odds that any one tech that you read about is going to carry the industry is very small. And these things take half a decade to go from the lab to stores.

          • This is not going to suddenly "change everything". First off, there's so little info here you can't even see through the hype. There's nothing to get an idea of how hard this would be to commercialize, what its energy density would be, or any of tons of other things that make a big difference. And secondly, these are hardly the first lab-scale batteries to have properties like this. Heck, there have even been lithium titanate batteries commercialized before. Crazy charge / discharge times, but they were largely a flop except in niche applications - the cost was way too high and the energy density too low.

            There is every week or two some great research breakthrough in battery storage. Most of them you'll never read about. Most of them will never go anywhere. But a few will. And they will slowly, inevitably make their way into the battery technology of tomorrow. Silicon anodes, for example, were once among those crazy lab future battery techs. Now they're in commercial cells. People never stop to think about how little the batteries in their phones have gotten in an area of increasing computing power, larger screens, greater demands on lifespan, etc. Energy density continues its inevitable march.... in the background. But the odds that any one tech that you read about is going to carry the industry is very small. And these things take half a decade to go from the lab to stores.

            Battery tech slowly evolves and gradually gets better. There have been few leaps in battery tech over the last 20 or so years, despite other such announcements. Like you, I am also skeptical that this is a true breakthrough. However, it would be amazing if it can be scaled up.

            The one thing that I disagree with in your comment is the premise that batteries in cell phones have gotten smaller due to battery tech. It is partially true. However, the majority of energy gains in cell phones have been the huge

        • When every penny counts, induction charging is a poor choice. Some of the field is always going to leak, and there are going to be losses in the coil windings and cores. A heavy pickup coil in the vehicle is also not optimum.
      • by AaronW ( 33736 )

        All it requires is on-site battery or capacitor storage. It makes even more sense since the batteries can be charged when electricity prices are cheap (i.e. at night).

    • It would take megawatts of power. Are you going to connect a megawatt cable to your car and expect it to work every time?

  • controls, well, capacity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @06:45PM (#48145095)

    Ah, good, the article DOES mention power density indirectly, saying that this new lithium ion design can store more energy more compactly. However, what about heat generation during thie high-speed charging? Will that be a problem?

    • by haruchai ( 17472 )

      That's probably why they stop or slow down at 70% - too much heat buildup.

    • Compactly isn't the issue, it's capacity per weight that matters more.

      And, not exploding.
    • The heat problem is a cooling prolem, nothing more. Traditional motors also produce tons of heat, but they are cooled, and everything is fine.

      • There is a big difference in cooling a battery VS cooling an engine though. The heat generated by the battery cells has to spread somehow to the outer edges of the battery for it to be dissipated by a cooling system. In cars, the energy density of the battery is hugely important, so you can't just lace the cell areas with good heat conductors without making the battery less efficient. This means a trade-off between how fast you can charge the battery (heat build-up) and how much power the battery can hold.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 )

      Also on the logistics side, the amount of power required would be extraordinary even if there were no waste heat. The battery in my electric car is 24 kW-h. 70% of that is 16.8 kW-h. Wouldn't delivering that much power in 5 minutes require a 200,000 Watt hook up? Now imagine an electric "filling station" with 5 or 10 bays that could be used concurrently.

      The outlet in my garage is 220V 30A (normally used for electric clothes dryers), and I think that's about as heavy duty as you can get in a normal Ame

      • by EETech1 ( 1179269 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @10:24PM (#48146467)

        1 - 2 MW is nothing for a commercial property though. The only reason your house is wired for 100 amps is you would rarely use over 30 - 40. If the demand is there to sell power, the power company will find a way to deliver it to you.

        I design systems with multiple megawatt connections. The last place I was at had 50 MW of service installed to run 5 machines. It was nothing out of the ordinary.

        Getting 250 Amps of 480 3 phase is nothing for a commercial property. That would handily cover your 200KW load.

      • by RealTime ( 3392 ) *
        Electric ranges (oven and cook-top) are 220V 50A .

        Electric ranges are pretty common in U.S. homes, although, just some like clothes dryers and hot water heaters, some ranges use natural gas.

        The most common receptacle for this in the U.S. is NEMA 14-50R [amazon.com].

        Larger RVs also use this receptacle for "shore power".
  • you can charge them with your 50% efficient solar panels
  • Licensed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @06:46PM (#48145105)

    The technology is currently being licensed by a company for eventual production.

    Is it Tesla?

  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @06:55PM (#48145207)

    One need only calculate the size of substation needed to deliver the equivalent energy of, say, a 16-pump Costco gas station to see that the fact that a battery can be charged that fast doesn't mean there is any infrastructure anywhere that could support it. The Tesla has an 85kWh battery. In other words, a 70% charge in 2-minutes requires pumping over 1.7 million watts to the car. Think a 2,000-volt supply shoving nearly 900-amps. Per "pump." But that kind of capacity would allow for better capture of regenerative braking energy.

    It could be great for things like cordless drills. At ~40-60 Wh the supply would not require more than a standard 120V/15A outlet.

    • Maybe the new 'gas pump' is a big capacitor?

      Conducting that much electricity, that fast, does seem almost unfathomable though.

    • by svirre ( 39068 )

      Generally fast chargers will not be in constant use. Hence it is acceptable to build a battery pack in the charging station, which can charge at a more reasonable speed off the grid and be capable of delivering high current at a presumably http://www.siemens.com/innovat...

      Keep in mind most EV charging can be done overnight at household outlets, only a few very long journeys will need topping up during the day, so it is reasonable that the number of fast charging outlets will be much less than current gas pu

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      My math shows 714kW, which is a more reasonable, but not by much .7 * 85kWh/5min * 60min/hr = 714kW

    • Simple. Put each of those new 2000 amp charging stations next to one 'a' them new fusion reactors.

  • If so... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fotis Georgatos ( 3006465 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:00PM (#48145253)
    ...the impact of this would be profound in energy distribution since it can potentially decouple real-time supply-demand constraints.
  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:03PM (#48145273) Journal
    If only I had a mod point for every Slashdot story claiming a battery breakthrough!
  • by NEDHead ( 1651195 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:03PM (#48145283)

    It has been days since my last battery breakthrough fix. When is the next solar panel announcement?

  • 5 minute charge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:11PM (#48145357)
    Clearly, they're practicing some sort of black magic if they think they can charge a 60 or 85 kWh battery in 5 minutes. Either that or they have a connection directly to the power plant located just around the corner.
    • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @11:35PM (#48146843)

      This entire thread is full of jackasses computing the peak power draw and saying retarded things like "does it come with it's own fusion reactor?".

      1. It's not a big deal to supply constant MWs to a relatively small number of charging stations along interstates. Next time you're driving along a highway look up slightly and notice the power wires carrying hundreds of MW's right next to you.

      2. You don't have to size the power grid connection to cover peak demand, capacitors and batteries located at the refilling station are good at averaging out the peaks so that you just have to worry about some windowed average demand--and average demand is just not that stressful. Think of it this way, gas stations would also run out of gasoline quickly if they were refilling 8 cars at a time every 5 minutes for the entire day. OMG is the gas station right next to a refinery?!?

      3. The vast majority of miles driven are daily commuting miles, which will be covered by low & slow charging at home.

      4. Tesla basically does this *already* with their supercharger network. Why is it so hard to grasp this concept?

  • by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @07:32PM (#48145521)

    ...is when it comes to fast charging the things. You run the risk of dendritic shorting, which is where lithium dendrites cross the electrolyte and touch the graphite electrode, causing the battery to short. THAT is where the heat comes from, not a dry chemical reaction. That's also where the risk of batteries exploding arises, and why certain laptop batteries have been exploding - thermal safeties have been omitted from aftermarket batteries, these are the ones that have been exploding because laptops in powered-off state are charging the batteries with the full whack of the PSU which causes the shorting. Without the safeties, the power isn't cut, the dendrites continue to grow until BOOM! Rechargeable batteries have an additive in the electrolyte that's supposed to inhibit dendrite growth, but it doesn't stop it, particularly when the battery is being abused. Anecdotally, I have rechargeable batteries that I've had for 20+ years and they still hold usable charge - for the simple reason that I have never and will never use a fast charger on them.

  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @08:52PM (#48146029) Journal
    Just wait until electric cars that require commercial charging stations become popular.

    The drop in gasoline tax revenue will logically lead to "car electricity" taxes... coming soon to a charging station near you.
  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @10:16PM (#48146429)
    Whenever I see a battery the size of a postage stamp as the prototype I get very nervous. I have read about a zillion revolutionary batteries where the scientists are holding up a fingernail sized bit and saying that all our battery needs have been met. But then the years go by and I never hear about the battery again. The only variation that I am seeing here is that one of them is holding a bottle of milk, while the other guy has a pretty geometric display of fingernail sized batteries.

    Quite simply I want to see these guys replace the battery in a small electric car with a known range, battery, charge time, etc and then drive to exhaustion, recharge in 5 minutes and then drive to exhaustion a handful of times with a battery no bigger than the original. Then I want to see a machine that is doing something boringly energy predictable like boiling a tank of water until the charge runs out, recharging, and boiling the just refilled tank of water. That way they can say, this battery the size of a popcan boiled 18 liters of water (or whatever a good popcan sized battery could boil) every 20 minutes for the last 6 months and is able still boil 17.6 liters of water. (25 minutes per cycle for ~10,000 cycles). But some spec of a battery that is subjected to tests that are not real world enough with graphs of discharge rates and whatnot just don't electrify me. Those are great for a science journal but I want tangibles. Unless there is something screwy such as extreme altitude boiling water from room temperature takes a fairly fixed amount of energy.
  • by mrdogi ( 82975 ) <mrdogi&sbcglobal,net> on Tuesday October 14, 2014 @11:07PM (#48146711) Homepage

    Seems a lot of comments are focusing on how to actually do that 5-minute charge. Hardly anybody seems to have thought about the other aspects, especially the ultra-long life. If the batteries can last 20 years/10,000 charges/what ever, it seems to me this is a really good thing. I'd be just fine with a 1-hour charge, or even an overnight charge. Top off when I can, good to go.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:30AM (#48147085) Homepage

    Prof Chen and his team will be applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype.

    In other words, they haven't built a battery yet.

    Why are so many "nanotechnology" articles like this? People find some new surface chemistry phenomenon in the lab, and immediately announce it as if it were a product ready to ship. Then it turns out that the phenomenon only works under limited conditions, or is really expensive to make, or doesn't even perform in the intended application. The nanotechnology crowd should STFU until they can demo.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead

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