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New Li-Ion Technology Charges 10x Faster, Holds 10x More

I love my Android phone, but I don’t love its relatively short battery life. Mobile technology has come a long way in the last few years, unfortunately battery technology isn’t keeping up at this same pace. Researchers at Northwestern University claim to have made a recent breakthrough in li-ion technology that could finally help batteries catch up. The new technology allegedly holds ten times more energy than today’s li-ion batteries and additionally charges roughly ten times quicker.

Inside Li-ion there are innumerable layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Lithium ions fill the spaces between these layers and when the bettery is being charged the atoms make their way to the edge of the sheet in order to get down to the next layer and make room for more ions. The speed of recharging is limited by how quickly these ions can get from layer to layer.

Professor Harold Kung at NU has discovered two techniques for improving this charge process. His lab decided to combine the strengths of carb and silicon by populating the area between the graphene sheets with silicon nanoclusters. These clusters greatly increase the amount of ions that can reside in the battery. The end result is a charge capacity that is greatly improved.

Kung’s lab took it one step further by perforating the graphene sheets which allowed the ions to take shortcuts to get to the next layer, this resulted in the major increase in charging speed.

As with many technologies there is a downside, and with the new battery technology it could possibly degrade quickly. After about 150 charges and discharges the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.

According to the researchers behind the new techniques, this form of li-ion battery could reach the market in about three to five years. Although this means I will forever be doomed to suffer from bad battery life with my current phone, perhaps in the next few years this will all change for the better. Keep in mind though that technology breakthroughs are made every day by universities and research centers, and many of these never see commercial reaches. For now I will keep my fingers crossed and hope, because we could all use better battery life in our favorite mobile devices.

About Andrew Grush

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  • http://quatermass.myopenid.com/ Quatermass

    As with all batteries, if you have a battery that delivers x10 more charge then it needs putting in to it x10 amount of electrical current over the same length of time. That makes it very very dangerous.
    If a Lithium ion battery (such as used in a laptop) is charged at a rate of say 20V at 3A per hour for 4hours, then that is 60W of power per hour.

    If these new batteries can hold 600W of power then it needs charged at 20V with 30A for 4 hours. Or 20V with 60A for 2 hours. (P=VI)

    60A is a truly massive amount of current to flow down a power lead and can very easily cause fires and such like if the cord becomes damaged. You can’t get around the law of Physics!

    Modern cell phone batteries by comparison are only around 2000mAH (2AH), so to increase this x10 would mean a 20AH battery being charged with x10 the amount of power that todays chargers use just to make sure it charges within the same length of time!

    So the phone chargers will be much more massive in size and with much thicker power cables. Modern cell phone chargers supply about 0.8A, so they’d have to be capable of 8A to match the new power requirements and that is just to match the same charging rate! If you want to half the charging time, that means doubling the current going down the cable!

    Can’t see 16A current carrying cables attached to a micro-USB connector! In fact the charging connector would have to be massive!
    Think car charger thick leads!

  • http://quatermass.myopenid.com/ Quatermass

    As with all batteries, if you have a battery that delivers x10 more charge then it needs putting in to it x10 amount of electrical current over the same length of time. That makes it very very dangerous.
    If a Lithium ion battery (such as used in a laptop) is charged at a rate of say 20V at 3A per hour for 4hours, then that is 60W of power per hour.

    If these new batteries can hold 600W of power then it needs charged at 20V with 30A for 4 hours. Or 20V with 60A for 2 hours. (P=VI)

    60A is a truly massive amount of current to flow down a power lead and can very easily cause fires and such like if the cord becomes damaged. You can’t get around the law of Physics!

    Modern cell phone batteries by comparison are only around 2000mAH (2AH), so to increase this x10 would mean a 20AH battery being charged with x10 the amount of power that todays chargers use just to make sure it charges within the same length of time!

    So the phone chargers will be much more massive in size and with much thicker power cables. Modern cell phone chargers supply about 0.8A, so they’d have to be capable of 8A to match the new power requirements and that is just to match the same charging rate! If you want to half the charging time, that means doubling the current going down the cable!

    Can’t see 16A current carrying cables attached to a micro-USB connector! In fact the charging connector would have to be massive!
    Think car charger thick leads!

  • http://quatermass.myopenid.com/ Quatermass

    As with all batteries, if you have a battery that delivers x10 more charge then it needs putting in to it x10 amount of electrical current over the same length of time. That makes it very very dangerous.
    If a Lithium ion battery (such as used in a laptop) is charged at a rate of say 20V at 3A per hour for 4hours, then that is 60W of power per hour.

    If these new batteries can hold 600W of power then it needs charged at 20V with 30A for 4 hours. Or 20V with 60A for 2 hours. (P=VI)

    60A is a truly massive amount of current to flow down a power lead and can very easily cause fires and such like if the cord becomes damaged. You can’t get around the law of Physics!

    Modern cell phone batteries by comparison are only around 2000mAH (2AH), so to increase this x10 would mean a 20AH battery being charged with x10 the amount of power that todays chargers use just to make sure it charges within the same length of time!

    So the phone chargers will be much more massive in size and with much thicker power cables. Modern cell phone chargers supply about 0.8A, so they’d have to be capable of 8A to match the new power requirements and that is just to match the same charging rate! If you want to half the charging time, that means doubling the current going down the cable!

    Can’t see 16A current carrying cables attached to a micro-USB connector! In fact the charging connector would have to be massive!
    Think car charger thick leads!

  • Fmac

    “The new technology allegedly holds ten times more energy than today’s li-ion batteries and additionally charges roughly ten times quicker.” – 10x faster and more capacity stated here.
    “As with many technologies there is a downside, and with the new battery technology it could possibly degrade quickly. After about 150 charges and discharges the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.” – tAs with many technologies there is a downside, and with the new battery technology it could possibly degrade quickly. After about 150 charges and discharges the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.” – This statement is talking about 5x improvement in capacity/charge after multiple uses and degradation.   

    So title is correct, the technology just degrades with time.

    • Bobmarley

      Woops my bad! thats what i get for skimming through it. This tech will be amazing for so many things.

  • Bobmarley

    the title is wrong…10x?

    “the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.”

  • Bobmarley

    the title is wrong…10x?

    “the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.”

  • Bobmarley

    the title is wrong…10x?

    “the batteries only showed a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed over current li-ion batteries.”

    • Netham45

      … after 150 charges …