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For most of us to fully charge our phone battery, we need to leave it plugged in for at least an hour -with the average life expectancy of the battery being 500 charge cycles; approximately two to three years. But what if you could get a proper power refueling in just a few minutes and a charge that was less taxing on the battery?

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Scientists at Nangyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have made significant advancements in creating a new lithium-ion battery that recharges to 70% full in just two minutes and can last up to 20 years. It is expected to last for 10,000 charge cycles over a 20-year lifespan.

Perhaps most interestingly, is not that this battery has the power to revolutionize the technology that powers mobile devices, but it’s that it has incredible compatibility with existing battery manufacturing processes and its performance and longevity can be used in electric cars as well.

1413221137790_wps_1_NTU_Assoc_Prof_Chen_Xiaod

Researchers say that with the faster charging technology, an electric car could be fully juiced in just 15 minutes, allowing drivers to save on both recharge time and battery replacement costs.

The new design of the NTU’s new Li-ion battery was invented by the materials scientist Chen Xiaodong of NTU. It has already been patented. More details can be found in the journal Advanced Materials.

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titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide — otherwise known as that cheap white powder that’s used in paint.

Professor Chen Xiaodong and his team believe that the battery’s most significant impact will be felt in the growing electric car industry. He stated this in a press release:

“Electric cars will 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.

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

How it Works?

The initial objective behind the battery was to develop a battery capable of faster charging speeds and better longevity. To do that, the researchers replaced the traditional graphite -the current standard -used for the negative pole (anode) with a new gel substance made from titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Graphite_crystalline

Graphite.

The titanium dioxide, which is considered very effective at storing lithium ions, is a cheap and plentiful substance; also known as titania. The researchers said that they found a new way to convert the titanium dioxide particles into nanotubes, which are 1000 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair.

How Much Does It Cost?

For electric cars, the battery is expected to cost at least $5000 USD. Rachid Yazami, who was not a part of the research but also works at Nanyang Technological University and co-invented the lithium-graphite anode 34 years ago, told Science Daily:

“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.

However, 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.”

Unlike many other lithium-ion battery progresses, this one might actually hit the market within a couple of years. Researchers believe that it could be available to consumers as early as 2016.

 

Sources:

(1) Photos Credits: Flickr, Nangyang Technological University, Wikipedia (1), Wikipedia (2)

(2) Scientists reveal the battery that can be charged in just TWO minutes

(3) New Battery Said to Recharge in Minutes and Last 20 Years


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