Researchers develop battery that charges in minutes, lasts 20 years

Nanotube anode allows for ultra-fast charging and 10,000 cycles without capacity degradation.

0 October 15, 2014
by Design Engineering staff

Clockwise from top: NTU Assoc Prof Chen Xiaodong with research fellow Tang Yuxin and PhD student Deng Jiyang

Clockwise from top: NTU Assoc Prof Chen Xiaodong with research fellow Tang Yuxin and PhD student Deng Jiyang

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in Singapore announced that they have developed a battery that can be recharged up to 70 percent in as little as two minutes and has a lifespan of over 20 years.

Typical lithium-ion batteries are capable of approximately 500 recharge cycles (2 to 3 years) before they begin to lose charge capacity. By contrast, the researchers say their new formulation is capable of 10,000 cycles. Such a cell could make for rechargeable batteries that outlive the mobile electronics they power and long range electric vehicles that wouldn’t need expensive battery replacements every few years.

According to the NTU researchers, their cell’s capabilities are due to its unique anode. While traditional rechargeable batteries use graphite for the negative electrode, the NTU-developed battery features a gel material made from titanium dioxide nanotubes. Thousand times thinner than a human hair, the nanotubes provide more surface area, and therefore speed up the ion transfer and allow for the fast charging.

The novel anode also eliminates the need for binding agents usually present in graphite-based anodes, which helps speed charge times and allows for greater energy density, the researchers say. A mixture of titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide, the anode gel is easy to manufacture and based on abundant, and safe materials.

The battery’s inventor, associate professor Chen Xiaodong from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, and his team are applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype, but the technology is currently being licensed by a company for eventual production. Chen expects that their fast-charging batteries will hit the market in the next two years.

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