updated 01:59 am EDT, Thu August 16, 2012
Charging efficiencies in larger batteries increased hundredfold
South Korean scientists claim to have found a way to greatly reduce electric car charging times from hours to minutes. The researchers have altered the geometry and physics of a lithium-ion battery to allow the cell to charge evenly throughout the battery, rather than charging from the terminals inward during a standard reduction-oxidation reaction on larger lithium-ion batteries.
The researchers formulated the battery with reactants in a solution containing graphite, which was later carbonized to form a "dense network of conductors throughout the electrodes of the battery." Essentially, the manufacturing process generates a larger amount of smaller anode/cathode groups with a short distance of electrolyte between each pair rather than a dense, multilayered structure. The resultant battery changes don't alter the energy density of the cell, but do alter the physics and timing of the charging reaction.
"The research is especially remarkable in that it overcame limitations of existing lithium-ion batteries," said professor Cho Jae-phil at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. "We will further move closer to developing a new secondary battery for electric cars that can be fully recharged in less than a minute." Refinement of the research is expected to take another decade before the new manufacturing techniques can be adopted and utilized in a cost-effective manner.
The advance is slated for use in larger battery cells, such as those found in electric cars. Utility of the new manufacturing technique is limited somewhat in smaller batteries with less reactant, such as those found in portable electronics. The research paper with the breakthrough was published earlier this month in the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie. [via The Register]