Ultra-fast charging batteries that can be 70% recharged in just two minutes

October 13, 2014, Nanyang Technological University
(Clockwise from top) NTU Assoc Prof Chen Xiaodong with research fellow Tang Yuxin and PhD student Deng Jiyang

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have developed a new battery that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only 2 minutes. The battery will also have a longer lifespan of over 20 years.

Expected to be the next big thing in battery technology, this breakthrough has a wide-ranging impact on many industries, especially for electric vehicles which are currently inhibited by long recharge times of over 4 hours and the limited lifespan of batteries.

This next generation of will enable electric vehicles to charge 20 times faster than the current technology. With it, electric vehicles will also be able to do away with frequent battery replacements. The new battery will be able to endure more than 10,000 charging cycles – 20 times more than the current 500 cycles of today's batteries.

NTU Singapore's scientists replaced the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide, an abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays.

Naturally found in a spherical shape, NTU Singapore developed a simple method to turn titanium dioxide particles into tiny nanotubes that are a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair.

This nanostructure is what helps to speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for superfast charging.

Invented by Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at NTU Singapore, the science behind the formation of the new titanium dioxide gel was published in the latest issue of Advanced Materials, a leading international scientific journal in materials science.

NTU professor Rachid Yazami, who was the co-inventor of the lithium-graphite anode 34 years ago that is used in most lithium-ion batteries today, said Prof Chen's invention is the next big leap in .

"While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and its performance improved since Sony commercialised it in 1991, the market is fast expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage," said Prof Yazami.

NTU Assoc Prof Chen holding the ultrafast rechargable batteries in his right hand, with the battery test station to his left

Last year, Prof Yazami was awarded the prestigious Draper Prize by the National Academy of Engineering for his ground-breaking work in developing the lithium-ion battery with three other scientists.

"There is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen's nanostructured anode has proven to do."

Prof Yazami, who is Prof Chen's colleague at NTU Singapore, is not part of this research project and is currently developing new types of batteries for electric vehicle applications at the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N).

Commercialisation of technology

Moving forward, Prof Chen's research team will be applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype. The patented technology has already attracted interest from the industry.

The technology is currently being licensed to a company and Prof Chen expects that the new generation of fast-charging batteries will hit the market in two years' time. It holds a lot of potential in overcoming the longstanding power issues related to electro-mobility.

"With our nanotechnology, electric cars would be able to increase their range dramatically with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars," added Prof Chen.

"Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries."

The long-life of the also means drivers save on the cost of a replacement, which could cost over USD$5,000 each.

Easy to manufacture

According to Frost & Sullivan, a leading growth-consulting firm, the global market of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is projected to be worth US$23.4 billion in 2016.

Lithium-ion batteries usually use additives to bind the electrodes to the anode, which affects the speed in which electrons and ions can transfer in and out of the batteries.

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

"Manufacturing this new nanotube gel is very easy," Prof Chen added. "Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are mixed together and stirred under a certain temperature. Battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate our new gel into their current production processes."

Explore further: Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch

More information: Tang, Y., Zhang, Y., Deng, J., Wei, J., Tam, H. L., Chandran, B. K., Dong, Z., Chen, Z. and Chen, X. (2014), "Mechanical Force-Driven Growth of Elongated Bending TiO2-based Nanotubular Materials for Ultrafast Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries." Adv. Mater., 26: 6111–6118. doi: 10.1002/adma.201402000

Related Stories

Engineering researchers develop next-generation battery

July 7, 2014

(Phys.org) —A research team from the University of Alberta has used carbon nanomaterials to develop next-generation batteries capable of charging faster and lasting longer than today's standard lithium-ion batteries.

Simulation method identifies materials for better batteries

September 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the University of Cambridge have devised a new simulation technique which reliably predicts the structure and behaviour of different materials, in order to accelerate the development of next-generation ...

Charging portable electronics in 10 minutes

June 10, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that ...

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.

25 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JamesG
1.3 / 5 (3) Oct 13, 2014
But will they make one for my iPhone?
MR166
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 13, 2014
This appears to be a real breakthrough for cars and renewables. Here's hoping it comes to fruition.
Eikka
3 / 5 (7) Oct 13, 2014
This appears to be a real breakthrough for cars and renewables. Here's hoping it comes to fruition.


The real problem they need to solve is the electricity supply issue, because you need ridiculous amounts of power to actually pull it off. 70% of 85 kWh in 2 minutes is 1785 kW of power, plus efficiency losses. About 2 megawatts.

That's what it would take to recharge a Tesla Model S in two minutes. The Tesla Supercharger station is limited to 120 kW, not because the batteries can't take it any faster, but because they can't safely supply much more.

But the long lifespan is definitely a boon.
teslaberry
1.8 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2014
q(
The real problem they need to solve is the electricity supply issue, because you need ridiculous amounts of power to actually pull it off. 70% of 85 kWh in 2 minutes is 1785 kW of power, plus efficiency losses. About 2 megawatts. ---------------------)

you couldn't be more wrong. the problem with electric EVERYTHING electroCHEMICAL is the recharge time. cell phones, powertools, cars, radios. everything. This problem was dealt with a long time ago by the industrial production of electrostatic capacitors. in the last ten years many reserachers have worked on hybrid capacitor/batteries and other solutions.

the bottom line is the problem with electrochemical cells is the speed at which they can recharge without being destroyed or undergo rapid decomposition through hyper accelerated aging.

recharge time is everything, power density is not the issue. it is the recharge time. for 80 years, this problem has not been solved and i am hopeful though not holding my breath
Duude
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2014
While it sounds exciting, I hate it when they leave out important details. Usually, its those details that effectively pour cold water on a report.
2 minutes for 70% recharged, and over 10,000 recharge cycles. Great! But what size of battery did they charge? While they made reference to how good this would be for batteries in electric automobiles, it doesn't say they recharged that powerful of a battery. Could be a simple phone battery or less. More specific detail would be nice.
Lex Talonis
4 / 5 (4) Oct 13, 2014
Where people lose out on this is that the battery is capable of charging to 70% in 2 minutes, does not actually mean that it has to be.

There is also that thinking, the "all or nothing" syndrome.

There is plenty of time to charge up most cars most of them time, while it is parked some where.

And given the current technology of charging stations - to the best of my knowledge at the more domestic / work place level, tends to reflect longer term parking, rather than fast filling, like a fuel pump.

And there are staggering amounts of applications that are not cars, and use small batteries that can be charged up in very short periods of time.

Like trains / trams / light rail / stopping at stations to pick up passengers... etc...

A 3 minute charge every hour or two....

Eikka
3.5 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2014
There is plenty of time to charge up most cars most of them time, while it is parked some where.


Yes, but that's beside the point.

When you're late for work and discover that the circuit breaker tripped during the night and you have no charge, you will appreciate the ability to recharge in 2 minutes.

That in essence encompasses the whole problem of "range anxiety". With ordinary cars, the knowledge that you can just add more miles in a matter of seconds makes the size of your tank irrelevant, whereas with electric vehicles, having to spend 30 minutes at the station is a dealbreaker because it means you will be late for work, or for your flight, your kids' school event... etc.
Eikka
4 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2014

the bottom line is the problem with electrochemical cells is the speed at which they can recharge without being destroyed or undergo rapid decomposition through hyper accelerated aging.


Mind you, they didn't state the battery would last for 10,000 cycles when it's being recharged in two minutes every time, nor do they state whether it has a better shelf-life than ordinary lithium batteries, which is between 6-8 years whether you use it or not.

It probably won't and doesn't.
LRo
1 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2014
@teslaberry: Tesla superchargers charge to 1/2 capacity in 20 minutes. Consider a station w/ capacity for 20 cars: it would have enough energy to charge 1 car to 1/2 charge in one minute. (The electrical energy is delivered to 20 different cars, but is in enough quantity).
To deliver energy to a single car you need to consider: 1) Voltage (the higher the voltage, the lower the current, for a given amount of energy), 2) Current (at a particular Voltage the current needs to increase to deliver a higher amount of power) and 3) the gauge and number of conductors. If you were to separate the battery of a single car into 20 parts and put all 20 chargers of the supercharger (and the battery will accept this fast a charge) you could charge the entire battery in 2 minutes, right?
So, the 2 main problems are 1) a battery that accepts charge at this high a rate without failing (this is what invention is about) and 2) a mechanical problem: having many conductors and distribute to the battery
LRo
1 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2014
(continuing my prior comment).. By playing with the Voltage, Current, and Number of wires, one can solve the problem of pushing the energy into the car (Note that I didn't say anything about the increase risk of dealing with such a large energy transfer.. I am just talking about ability to do this from an Electrical and mechanical point of view).
HeloMenelo
5 / 5 (2) Oct 14, 2014
But will they make one for my iPhone?


Not a chance, it will however unfortunately make it to the list of oblivion (cough..cough... like all the rest..cough...)

http://www.rcgrou...29680759

hangman04
1 / 5 (2) Oct 14, 2014
i don't understand the title of this article, if it charges 70% in 2 minutes, why not state that it fully charges in (less than) 3 minutes.... i mean considering that for electric cars we still have a problem with density (which is way bellow petrol), u would want to always do a full recharge. otherwise, considering the fact that they increased both life cycle and a bit the density (so they say but they don't specify - 400 wh/kg is what i read to be best atm in li-ion), and the recharge speed, is definitely a step forward.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Oct 14, 2014
why not state that it fully charges in (less than) 3 minutes....


Because it doesn't.

The voltage across the electrolyte and electrodes has to be limited because it would overcome the potential treshold for unwanted and destructive chemical reactions (overcharge). Due to Ohm's law, forcing electrical current in will cause the cell voltage to rise above its actual state of charge in proportion to the current, so you reach the safe limits before the cell is actually full and you have to slow down.

It's like pouring beer in a glass. You can pour the first half really fast, but then the other half is full of foam and you need to wait for it to settle down.

hangman04
not rated yet Oct 14, 2014
ty Eikka. i was curious since smth seemed odd. so for a full charge "how much " ? :))
tscati
not rated yet Oct 14, 2014
Eikka is spot on with the supply problem. You'll need a seriously massive power supply to deliver that sort of charge rate, and that isn't going to be available in a domestic situation. I doubt if my house is wired to handle more than about 20kW, so 2MW is insane - more than the peak load for the entire village.

That is never going to be available in a domestic situation, but it probably doesn't need to be - people can go for a slow charge overnight at home. Fast charge could then be provided from 'fuelling stations' (on main roads) which have very large cables connecting them to a nearby electricity sub-station (which may need to be upgraded anyway!)
Lord_jag
not rated yet Oct 14, 2014
But will they make one for my iPhone?

If they did you still wouldn't be able to remove it to reset it.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 14, 2014
y Eikka. i was curious since smth seemed odd. so for a full charge "how much " ? :))


A lithium battery is technically never full. You can keep adding more and more energy to the point that the electrolyte starts breaking down and catches fire. You can collect more charge between the electrodes than the electrodes can actually handle, so you just got to pick a voltage and say "this is full". The lower you choose, the longer your battery is going to last.

Technically, it takes an infinite time to reach your voltage limit because the battery draws less and less current as the state of charge approaches that voltage. If 70% of the charge is reached in 2 minutes, then 70% of the remaining 30% is another 2 minutes, and 70% of the remaining 9% is another 2 minutes

So you reach 97% of your limit in about 6 minutes and 99% in 8 min - in theory - unless other effects increase the internal resistance of the battery as it gets full.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 14, 2014
Fast charge could then be provided from 'fuelling stations'


Fuelling stations have their own problems, because they need to be able to serve multiple customers at once. A single gasoline station may have 4-5 pumps in use during rush hour, so they might reasonably need 4-5 chargers, and then you're not looking at two megawatts but ten, or more.

The grid will not handle that sort of draw from thousands of service stations across the country, because it quickly turns to tens or hundreds of Gigawatts. The only feasible solution is to build local batteries.

But then you're charging a battery to charge a battery - double the losses. And at what cost?
joefarah
1 / 5 (1) Oct 14, 2014
How is this different from the titaniium Nanosafe batteries that Altair Nanotechnology (ALTI) has been producing for the last 5 years or so. Charge faster, last longer, do not catch fire or explode on impact or puncture. Looks like a potential patent issue here.
freeiam
not rated yet Oct 15, 2014
...
That in essence encompasses the whole problem of "range anxiety". With ordinary cars, the knowledge that you can just add more miles in a matter of seconds makes the size of your tank irrelevant, whereas with electric vehicles, having to spend 30 minutes at the station is a deal breaker because it means you will be late for work, or for your flight, your kids' school event... etc.


Your wrong. It isn't possible to 'add more miles in a matter of seconds'.
You first have to find a gas station, that can take a lot of time, especially if most (all) of them are closed. At home you can almost always charge your car, so I would have a lot of 'range anxiety' if I had a gasoline car.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2014
"At home you can almost always charge your car, so I would have a lot of 'range anxiety' if I had a gasoline car."

You are such a Bozo! I would have to be a moron to have "Range Anxiety" if I were sitting at home.

Range Anxiety happens when you have many miles left before you have any hope of "filling your tank" with gas or electricity.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2014
But here is one major advantage of an all electric vehicle. In the wake of some sort of major disaster that lasts for an extended period there is a possibility that there will be no gasoline or oil available. Electricity could be available or produced more easily than gas.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 16, 2014
Your wrong. It isn't possible to 'add more miles in a matter of seconds'.
You first have to find a gas station, that can take a lot of time, especially if most (all) of them are closed. At home you can almost always charge your car, so I would have a lot of 'range anxiety' if I had a gasoline car.


Gas stations are everywhere and nearly all of them are 24/7 automated these days, cash or credit.

There's one on my way to work, and another one half a mile from the workplace, so I never have to care whether my tank is full when I go to sleep at night. If it isn't, it's a 100 yards detour from my usual route to fill it on the way.

In the wake of some sort of major disaster that lasts for an extended period there is a possibility that there will be no gasoline or oil available. Electricity could be available or produced more easily than gas.


How? If the grid is down, you're just as hosed. More so because you can't carry electricity in a jerry can.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 16, 2014
In times of distaster, gasoline/diesel is often more available than electricity because people have gasoline stored away for lawnmowers and mopeds and generators. It's also easier to carry fuel as disaster aid; drop it off a helicopter or truck.

It often takes weeks, months even, for the utilities to get around fixing your cables, and they can't start until the disaster is over - and if you're cut off from the grid at large the home solar panels or tiny windmills etc. won't work because there's no load balancing. It'll be just constant on-off-brownout and tripping fuses and breaking stuff to under/overvoltage.

The only thing that works is a good old Briggs & Stratton.
teslaberry
not rated yet Oct 17, 2014
@teslaberry: . If you were to separate the battery of a single car into 20 parts and put all 20 chargers of the supercharger (and the battery will accept this fast a charge) you could charge the entire battery in 2 minutes, right?
So, the 2 main problems are 1) a battery that accepts charge at this high a rate without failing (this is what invention is about) and 2) a mechanical problem: having many conductors and distribute to the battery[

no wrong. you cannot super charge the batteries separately without killing them. tesla lihtium ion tech will accept a maximum rate of about 1 kw of charge per kwh of battery. this is unacceptably bad and is the reason why tesla tries to make up for it with a massive 85kwh hour battery pack weighing 1500 pounds PLUS a supercharging system.

you don't need superchargers and you don't need 1500 pounds of battery if you can fill a kwh of battery at 7kw of power. if you could fill a kwh hour of battery with a 20kw charge---tesla is dead.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.