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Electrode Breakthrough Enables Rapid Battery Recharge

Thu, 03/12/2009 - 4:48am

Editor's Note: Recharge times are the bane of batteries, inconveniently tethering devices whose very purpose is to be mobile. Decreasing recharge times will be a great boon, not only expanding the convenience of existing devices, but also enabling new application areas.

(From A lithium-ion battery electrode described this week in the journal Nature can deliver electricity several times faster than other such batteries. It could be particularly useful where rapid power bursts are needed, such as for laser weapons or hybrid race cars. Test batteries based on the new electrode--developed by Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science at MIT--can be discharged in 10 seconds. In comparison, the best high-power lithium-ion batteries today discharge in a minute and a half, and conventional lithium-ion batteries, such as those in laptops, can take hours to discharge. The new high rate, the researchers calculate, would allow a one-liter battery based on the material to deliver 25,000 watts, or enough power for about 20 vacuum cleaners.

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Powered up: An amorphous layer (light-colored band at the right) on a crystalline battery material improves its performance.
Credit: Byoungwoo Kang, MIT



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