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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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What is needed for battery Applications.
By Avitar on 3/13/2009 10:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
The long recharge times was one of the things that killed the electric cars in the twentieth century. It is a critical factor in commercial applications. "Time is Money" The question asked in the comments about providing a 100KW line needs to be answered YES! With recharge times of less than five minutes, you can begin to handle the energy with "filling stations."

This is what we are looking at for the future of pollution sensitive areas like New York and California. The power-to-weight ratio is not so important, not unimportant just less so.

If you can make an electric car that can run a hundred miles, at speed (call it 85 mph), recharge in around five minutes and can be profitably sold for less than 20% over the cost of gasoline competitors, including the cost of recycling the battery, then you have a commercial product. These are the parameters that have to be met for a working electric Car that is not confined to niche markets.

The politicians that are providing the 20% incentive will also have to live with vastly increasing the numbers of Nuclear power plants (about five times) and upgrading the power grid to support electric transportation. This battery sounds good; there are also the new Ultra Capacitors that could fill the role if they can be brought down in cost by 60%. None of the technology is in place today but understanding the parameters will keep resources from being squandered.

RE: What is needed for battery Applications.
By JonB on 3/14/2009 9:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
If the battery is truly "fast charge" then your filling station is just a set of magnetic induction coils at traffic lights or along highways in a pull out lane.

If you are stopped at a red light for 30 seconds, you might get a 50% recharge. Billing based on RFID. Of course, it wouldn't charge vehicles on a "bad" or "stolen" list, so they'd eventually go dead.

RE: What is needed for battery Applications.
By shin0bi272 on 3/14/2009 11:31:28 AM , Rating: 4
I am not prepared for that kind of government control over my driving/whereabouts. Thanks though.

RE: What is needed for battery Applications.
By MrPoletski on 3/16/2009 6:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
if it were free charge, then there would be no need for any tracking or gubbermint involvement, just give out free energy at traffic lights.

people won't be so mad at being held up on their way to work then... it's ok, im getting juiced up...

By matt0401 on 3/17/2009 12:15:46 AM , Rating: 2
That's a very interesting idea that could be accomplished two ways basically...

One is the RFID-based billing that a poster mentioned, which another poster mentioned as being very Orwellian.

Another idea, from another poster is of it being free of charge. This is an interesting idea, for "gas" (electricity used for vehicle travel) to be basically socialized. Similar to how a lot of countries have socialized health care. It could definitely work, though I doubt the old grandmother driving to church every Sunday morning and back would feel good about having to pay for a full-time trucker.

Myself, I wouldn't mind the RFID-based billing. I really don't care if the government knows where I've been. The potential for stopping tragedy when it comes to abductions, etc, is substantial. And when it comes down to it, it could be optional.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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