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Iron phosphate  (Source: MIT)
The new battery isn't ready for commercial development, but it shows great promise

A new battery material created by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could lead to much faster recharge times for batteries.

MIT professor Gerbrand Ceder and researcher Byoungwoo Kang said the material can discharge energy and recharge nearly 100 times faster than batteries currently used in mobile phones.  Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in laptops as well, and could allow longer battery life and faster recharge time if a user is away from a power source for long durations of time.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," Ceder and Kang sad in the latest edition of Nature.

The duo created a small battery that normally takes six minutes to charge, but used their new traffic flow to recharge the same battery in just 10 to 20 seconds.

It was widely believed the ions and electrons inside the battery moved too slowly, but the researchers noticed that wasn't the case.  They focused on how ions enter nano-scale tunnels aimed at moving electrons around the battery, and eventually created a lithium phosphate coating that helps push ions to the nano-scale tunnels.

Rechargeable lithium batteries used today have the ability to store high amounts of energy, but don't normally release that power, so they discharge very slowly.    

The battery has been supported with federal research money, and two companies have already licensed the technology, MIT announced.  It'd be possible to start mass producing the batteries in two to three years, the MIT researchers said. 

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By kontorotsui on 3/13/2009 8:17:49 AM , Rating: -1
I'm glad DT takes the care to inform us this is not going to be commercially available soon.

About the battery, it is great that next generations will be charged much faster, but the priority is on increasing energy to weight and volume ratio .
Oh, lower prices too, please.

What is the point to charge a battery in a matter of seconds (how? You get a 100kW power line? LOL) if it weights a ton and is big like an house?

RE: Good
By mead drinker on 3/13/2009 8:33:13 AM , Rating: 1
This would be a great commercial achievement if it would be used in the looming electric vehicle market where the main concern has been what happens after the initial charge received at your home is depleted. The weight and volume of the system as you mention are not yet concerns and are neglible as they are comparable to ICE.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 3/13/2009 1:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that this could allow a practical electric car. My question isn't how fast does it charge, but how long does it last? If it only lasts for a year, then it isn't practical or economical. In fact it would produce a huge amount of waste.

Batteries need the same ability as a car's gas tank/fuel pump. Ability to be "refueled" quickly and last at least 20 years. I mean there are 30+ year old cars out there still running the same engine, transmission, and fuel system as the day they were built. It just takes proper maintenance.

One of the things I hate about cars today is that they're too complicated. There's so many little pieces of crap that can break. Hence why my dream is to take an old car (67-69 Camaro and put modern equipment in it. The only computers in the car being the ECM for the motor and the stereo.

RE: Good
By murphyslabrat on 3/13/2009 2:36:32 PM , Rating: 3
I think the referenced article explains things better than this Dailytech one. As far as I understand this article and the one it was based on, this is simply a make-over for traditional li-ion batteries.

The article that Mr. Barkoviak linked used the analogy of city streets, on which I'll extend: this doesn't build any new houses, doesn't put new doors on houses, and doesn't change the structure of the houses. All it does is make more streets, and make them bigger.

RE: Good
By erple2 on 3/13/2009 5:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the longevity issue. It'd be very interesting to see if they can even make the batteries, let alone whether they last any length of time, or what their energy density is (all things missing from the DT article).

On the other point ...

Nothing like having a car that requires constant tuning and tinkering with to keep it running well.

No thanks. I'll take my modern car with all of the electronic gizmos inside that don't require retunes for each season. By the way, once you put modern equipment in a 67 camaro, it's no longer simple anymore. I like cruise control. I like power windows. I like keyless entry. I like that I only have change the oil on my car every 3000 or so miles and it'll run flawlessly for 100+ thousand miles.

My experience with pre 1980's cars has been that something always needs tinkering with. Whether it's timing, carburetor, sparkplugs, whatever, it's NOT the plug and play devices we have now. That convenience is worth far more to me than the antiquated simplicity of old old cars.


RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 3/13/2009 6:15:03 PM , Rating: 3
Modern shocks and struts, disc brakes, modern posi traction, etc doesn't make a car prone to trouble. The ECU would be the only computer in the car. Stuff like fuel injectors and what not are not really troublesome components.

What I don't like are all the sensors and random safety crap in cars today that do nothing but break and add weight. I don't need power door locks. Sure I like power windows but those also aren't really too troublesome. I don't need remote start either. And you only have to change the oil every 3-5000 miles on any car. Even a car from the 60s.

I like cars I can work on without a computer to diagnose everything. My 87 Camaro only needed about 3 wrenches to work on most parts of it.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:25:14 AM , Rating: 3
You wrote 20, then 30 years. Shocks and struts don't last 1/5th that if replaced as they should be, and even ignoring handing, will entirely rust through when used in average climates.

Disc brakes certainly don't last that long either, the rotors must be turned a few times until they are too thin and have to be replaced. Same for brake lines, calipers, etc. There's no "care" and "maintenance" that precludes replacing these parts over that timespan. Fuel injectors will also be troublesome over this period if the gas lines age enough or poor quality fuel is used.

Power windows are also troublesome over 20+ years. Many fail within 10 if frequently used. So we can say these things aren't "trouble" but mainly because it'll be only a few things that happen to each car, not all of them at once. Plus, typically the older a car gets, the less frequently it is driven so the wear decelerates besides body rust-through if it's stored outside, but even then in the snow belt if it's not driven it's not exposed to salt so much.

There is something to be said for 20 to 30 year old cars though, at least the larger ones could have parts swapped without taking out 10 other parts just to gain access. These days just changing spark plugs or the battery means removing something else first.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
False. Weight and volume, and price was mentioned too, are the primary concerns. If it were not for these factors, electric cars would already travel further than they do, and be able to be recharged faster than they can.

How are these electric vehicles achiving the mileage they do at arguably almost-affordable prices? By using design characteristics common to efficient economy cars. Small, light weight, careful attention to component cost.

RE: Good
By Guspaz on 3/13/2009 8:35:27 AM , Rating: 4
That's a good point; for example, the limitations for charging electric cars comes not from how fast the battery, but how many amps you can supply from your house.

A typical computer battery, using mine as an example, stores 80Wh. Ignoring potential losses and conversions and other such things, charging that in 10 seconds would require you to supply 28.8KW of power. Again ignoring conversion to AC, at 120v you'd need to provide 240 amps. Most circuits in your home are 10 to 20 amps.

RE: Good
By Lord 666 on 3/13/2009 8:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot to mention the infrastructure and electrical generation method upgrades to make a 240 outlet available in every home.

This is where nuclear power comes in as wind/solar/wishful thinking are not going to power these needs.

RE: Good
By shin0bi272 on 3/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By StevoLincolnite on 3/13/2009 12:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
Australia uses 240 volts, and without Nuclear Power Generation, Granted it has much smaller consumer demand because of the Population differences, Funny thing is though, I started reading this thread a few hours ago and the Power went out completely across town.

Plus Australia by law will have only Energy Efficient Lighting available, which might help offset energy needs to an extent.
Plus I did hear some talk about the Government upgrading the Power grids so they were all computer controlled so they would have higher efficiency.

RE: Good
By croc on 3/13/2009 6:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Plus I did hear some talk about the Government upgrading the Power grids so they were all computer controlled so they would have higher efficiency."

Talk is cheap... Maybe one infrastructure project at a time? Start out with the broadband roll-out, please... Most of our power grid is already on a SCADA system of some sort, but the seperate companies don't have inter-connects between their systems. Not to mention that the loss of a grid, say in Perth, cannot be easily supplemented by a grid in SA. Distance is a factor, but total power generation nation-wide is just barely adequate. Gas fired power could be brought on line faster, but it would still take several hours to get a GFPS on the grid. Power grids are perhaps the most complicated systems of any nation's infrascructure. Very few people really understand just how complicated they truly are.

RE: Good
By StevoLincolnite on 3/14/2009 12:09:44 AM , Rating: 2
The Government isn't building the NBN, hence why they had the tender process to find an ISP that would.

I agree, the power systems are complex, but some upgrades to increase efficiency would be a good way to cut down our carbon foot print and hopefully lower prices.

RE: Good
By TomZ on 3/13/2009 12:30:30 PM , Rating: 1
This is where nuclear power comes in as wind/solar/wishful thinking are not going to power these needs.
Nah, I propose that we move everyone/everything else out of Texas and cover the entire state with Solar cells. How's that for energy independence! See, it can be done.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 3/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By s12033722 on 3/13/2009 1:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
240 V outlets are available in just about every home. You just use 2 120 V lines at opposite phases. How do you think most ovens and dryers run?

RE: Good
By JediJeb on 3/13/2009 2:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing, but noticed in the original post it mentioned 240A not volts. Most 240V outlets only have at best 30A breakers in most homes. To run at 240A would require a cable over an inch in diameter I imagine. With amperage that high any crack in the insulation of the wire would be very dangerous and the heat generated when pulling a load on it would be very high I think.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:31:33 AM , Rating: 2
Most households only have 100A, sometimes 200A total service. Total. The entire grid would need redone from one end to the other to support everyone rapid charging cars.

Cracks in wire insulation are not dangerous because of current, they are dangerous because of voltage. If the wire is the appropriate gauge, the thermal density will be no higher than any other wiring in your home. Of course the total heat produced is higher, but it is not much of a factor unless someone tries to cheat codes and put too small a capacity run in with an oversized breaker trying to get more juice to their car.

RE: Good
By Marlonsm on 3/13/2009 4:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good point

But how about putting one battery like that on your house, so it'd be slowly recharged during the day(maybe even using solar panels also) and when you need to recharge you laptop, or even your car, all those amps would come from that battery.

This way the infrastructure wouldn't need big changes.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
Then you're paying twice as much for costly batteries, both of which having to be replaced in a few years. It would be more energy friendly to just make both batteries the same with a quick-disconnect modular cartridge design, and a lift swaps one battery pack with another, instead of suffering the loss in inefficiency to discharge one to charge the other.

However for practical purposes electric cars already cost too much because of the battery, a reasonable target is batteries that charge at up to 30A @ 220V input as that will allow use of the existing infrastructure.

RE: Good
By Integral9 on 3/13/2009 9:43:11 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, but your battery is probably only producing somewhere near 12volts, not 120. So I think you need to produce 240A @ 12 volts. Which shouldn't be that hard to do from a standard wall outlet. The problem I think is going to be providing enough "bandwidth" for the Amps to flow through. You need a pretty wide path to get 240A @ only 12V.

RE: Good
By emboss on 3/13/2009 10:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
Guspaz is correct. He's simply using the 80 Wh battery capacity (voltage doesn't matter), and calculating how much power would be needed to recharge that in 10 seconds = 10/3600 hours. Simply dividing 80 Wh by (10/3600) hours gives 28800 W of power for 10 seconds. Regardless of the voltage anywhere.

However, you've got 120 V at the wall, so to pull 28.8 kW out of the wall socket you're going to need 28.8 kW / 120 V = 240 A. Note that this assumes no losses anywhere between the socket and the battery, whereas in real life these would be significant (requiring more than 240 A from the socket).

RE: Good
By Integral9 on 3/13/2009 1:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
(voltage doesn't matter)
Ahh. Thanks. I guess what I was trying to say was that you could take advantage of a voltage drop to produce more current. It would take longer to charge the battery, but at least you wouldn't have to decide between running your house or charging a battery in 10 sec.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:47:34 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, but it still wouldn't work. 12V*240A=2880W. 2880W/120V=24A. 24A*90% Switching PSU Efficiency = 27A. A typical household AC outlet is only rated for 15A.

Granted, you could wire up a different outlet.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 3/16/2009 7:16:26 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see any reason why these 12v batteries cannot be hooked up in series for charging, so you can shunt 240v into 20 cells at once. (12v each)

RE: Good
By SublimeSimplicity on 3/13/2009 10:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
If you're going to recharge at home, two hours is probably more than acceptable. Considering the Tesla has a 53kWh battery pack, a 2 hour charge, with a 220v outlet would be 120A. That's within the realm of possibilities... an electrician (or homeowner with a fully paid life insurance policy) could install the additional circuit panel and outlet in the garage for this.

Where this tech would come into play would be the electric equivalent of gas station. Where a 5-10 minute recharge is required. Since these haven't been built and flowing these levels of charge would be their sole business model, the expense of the equipment wouldn't be as much of a factor.

RE: Good
By rcc on 3/13/2009 12:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's only money. Just install a second fixed 60kWH battery with a slightly higher voltage in your garage and charge it all day at a lower rate. Pull in, hook up, and do your 10 second transfer. Oh, and stand clear of the heat sinks. : )

RE: Good
By sdoorex on 3/13/2009 2:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
If the system requires a second battery, why not just save the second and wholly unneeded transfer cycle and just make the batteries swappable. Maybe make some special parking apparatus that when you park, it lowers the discharged battery out of the truck moves it to a charging dock and raises the charged battery into the truck. This would save on the lifespan of the batteries, plus you would have all that wasted thermal energy from the transfer and as such would be cheaper in the long run. Not to mention, this would make a battery leasing system very easy. Just have the stations have the same apparatus but in a drive-over fashion and you pay a monthly plan to be able you use the batteries. As for charging for the energy used, you could have a plan based upon either the number of swaps or you monitor how much energy is used to recharge each battery.

This plan is already being worked on in France by a group called Project Better Place and Renalt. Quoted from :
Project Better Place has begun in October 2007 and is working with Renault on development of exchangeable batteries (battery swapping)

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 3/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By Bubbacub on 3/13/2009 4:20:53 PM , Rating: 5
dude you seriously need to chillout

your 'party' lost 4-5 months ago. get over it. why anyone would get so wound up supporting one group of politician scummers over another is beyond me.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 3/15/2009 12:08:06 AM , Rating: 2
My "party" is anyone who values their ability to live their lives in peace and without the government telling them what they can and cannot own.

I could care less about Republicans and Democrats.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 3/16/2009 7:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
My "party" is anyone who values their ability to live their lives in peace

Can Iraqis vote for your party so you can leave them in peace?

Yeah the party that masterminds the invasion of two countries and spearheads the marginalisation and provocation of a couple more is the party all about peace.

Or am I wrong and you're not a stereotypical republican?

Ron Paul 2012!

RE: Good
By sdoorex on 3/23/2009 1:33:13 PM , Rating: 1
The idea isn't to do it at every home or parking spot but at service stations. Home charging would be done much the same as it is now, you just plug into the wall. Much like gas stations as now. This would not be as extremely expensive as you are saying and would be very economical as the stations and operators could make a lot of money. This would also git rid of the range argument against EVs.

As to the government rant, I said nothing about the government doing anything other than that certain governments are looking into supporting it. I also don't support any party in particular since they only look out for their own interests, not the interest of the people, and as such would appreciate some respect as to refrain from politicizing the thread.

Sorry for taking so long to reply, I was out away from civilization for a week and a half.

RE: Good
By mindless1 on 3/14/2009 12:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
You're overlooking that many homes only have 100A in TOTAL service, and either way, at peak times like in the evening the grid just won't handle that. The last stretch of wiring from the breaker box to the outlet in the garage is the least of the issues, easier, quicker, cheaper, than any other factor.

RE: Good
By AlexWade on 3/13/2009 9:05:29 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder about how long such batteries will last. What good is a fast charging battery if it last a short time? For how many charge cycles is this battery good for?

RE: Good
By Doormat on 3/13/2009 10:53:27 AM , Rating: 3
LiFePO batteries have other positive aspects. Like their 2000 charge cycle life (to 80%). Compare that to the 300-500 cycles of standard lithium batteries.

One of the facts that came out of this study was that you don't need to recharge the battery in 10 seconds. If you cut down the charging rates (but still charge them faster that you otherwise could without this discovery), the Wh/kg and Wh/L go up. As you increase the charge/discharge rate the battery capacity goes down. This isn't generally a problem though for PHEVs considering the fastest you could charge one is limited by what kind of electrical service enters your home and what outlets you have available (240V/30A is probably the highest).

The simplest example would be to replace the Volt's batteries with these in a few years. You could get the same range, a smaller battery (12kWh instead of 16kWh), and not have to worry about replacing the battery in the 100,000 mile warranty period (the battery would last about 3,000 cycles before 80% capacity, or about 108,000 miles).

I would bet they'd still be fairly expensive - $18,000 for a 12kW pack. But considering that GM expects to have to replace the battery pack (parts and labor at their expense) at least once in the warranty period of the first few years worth of Volt production, and they're paying about $10K per pack, its an improvement.

RE: Good
By gsellis on 3/16/2009 7:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
Good points.

You made me think of another. With such a fast recharge rate, hybrids can get bigger. Regenerative braking on something like a tractor trailer or locomotive are less likely to put too much into the charging system too fast. Hmmmm...

(I still like the hydraulic hybrid that U of Minn or was it U of Wisc did in the 70's with a 16HP Briggs and Straton engine - regenerative braking and brilliant gas mileage on a not so efficient engine. Size made it a two seater in a Bradley GT body - but it still did 0-60 in 8 sec. - if you want to research it, it was covered in Mother Earth News in the 70's.)

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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