One of the biggest complaints about tech specs for smart phones involves battery life. So it makes sense that there are teams of researchers trying to make better batteries. UC Berkeley is working on an energy storing battery called the “Supercapacitor” (I love the name), SolidEnergy is researching a longer-lasting battery for Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone.
Stanford is throwing its hat into the ring with a new aluminum-ion battery that is safer and could potentially charge a smartphone from dead to full in about a minute.
The research team at Stanford put their prototype to the test and discovered that it had “unprecedented charging times” of as little as one minute.
This aluminum-ion battery is designed to be safer than traditional alkaline and lithium-ion batteries. “Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it,” said Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford.
Apparently, it also has a charge cycle life that is more than seven times that of a lithium-ion battery. During testing, the research team at Stanford found that their aluminum battery could take 7,5000 cycles without loss of capacity, compared to 1,000 cycles of a lithium-ion battery.
Plus, due to the flexibility of the materials, Stanford’s battery can be bent, or even folded, so it has potential for use in rounded electronic devices.
The aluminum-ion battery only generates about two volts of electricity. Typical lithium-ion batteries generate 3.5 volts. So, this battery still needs some work. However, Dai believes that improving the cathode material could help increase the voltage and energy density, making it powerful enough for use in smartphones and other electronic devices.
Although it has one major flaw, the team at Stanford is certainly on the right track. “Our battery has everything else you’d dream that a battery should have: inexpensive electrodes, good safety, high-speed charging, flexibility and long cycle life,” said Dai. “I see this as a new battery in its early days.”
Via: Digital Trends
Note that fast charging like this generally means scary high current. Instead of pumping 5 amps to charge a 5000mAh battery in an hour, you’re pumping 300 amps for the 1 minute charge. High current generally means high heat.
Not knocking the discovery, i think it’s great, but there’s just some obvious other changes that will have to be done to enable safe charging, since even if the battery itself is safe, Wiring and delivery will also have to step it up.
I’m thinking though that unless the energy density can get close too lipo, it won’t succeed. There’s a number of other technologies that havent gained much traction yet – A123’s LiFe, LiMnCo, NMC etc that are safer that Lipo, but just not popular because of price, or power density.
LiFe is safe, and can be charged in 15 minutes and are very safe (drive nails in em), so you’d think it would catch on more, but it delivered maybe half to 2/3rds of what the more dangerous LiPo could in energy density, so popularity fell.
Unless the charge efficiency is (impossibly) high, charging a battery large enough in capacity to power a typical smart phone in one minute would cause the battery to get so hot, the phone (if not the battery itself) would melt. Be very careful with claims of breakthrough battery technologies, often the stories are improperly reported, and/or the claims are outright bogus.
IF everything else is true then the voltage could be solved by putting them in series, couldn’t it?
Now my question is: what’s the capacity? They mention charge cycles, charge times and voltage but no mention of capacity (and without high capacity fast charge times are worthless (heck, you can charge a li-ion 100mah battery in very little time, or you could if you could find one.)
Typical ain’t it. Press accounts always, always, leave out the most important facts in any story, when they don’t outright get the facts wrong. Here the key missing detail is energy density.
You are right that it doesn’t matter what the terminal voltage is on a single cell, that is quickly solved by simply using two or more cells in series. But if the mA/Hr rating is even similar to a li-ion that lower voltage is a fatal flaw since watt hours is current X voltage, with the much lower voltage it is going to need a much higher current capacity. So with a huge current flow during charging if they are doing it in a minute, it would mean the internal resistance would have to be really low.
Forget charging small portable devices in a minute anyway. Math refutes it. I have a tiny, crappy phone and even it has a 1,000mA/Hr battery. So lets look at the math on that. 1,000mA = 1A so the math is simple. 3.6V x 1 = 3.6 Watt Hours. Charging that in a minute would require 3.6W*60 = 216W plus enough extra to cover losses because no system is 100% efficient. Who wants to carry a charger capable of delivering 200+W? Who wants to carry a thick enough cable to deliver 200W at low DC voltage or worry about high voltage in a pocket device? Now do the math on a more typical tablet’s battery and consider that even if the charging process is 95% efficient (hint, it won’t be) consider how hot the sucker will be. Heck of a thermal cycle to undergo in a minute.
As somebody stats they could be used in truck/car … this could support some more R&R to improve the tech of this new battery
There’s a lot of false starts in battery technology, so its natural to be cautious. That said, hope this is realistic enough to be commercialized.
Comments are closed.