Print 54 comment(s) - last by yaleman.. on Dec 13 at 6:41 PM

Toshiba SCiB Cell  (Source: Toshiba)

Toshiba SCiB Standard Module  (Source: Toshiba)
90% recharged batteries in less than 5 minutes that will still recharge even 10 years later? Where do I sign up?

When many think of rechargeable batteries the first thing to mind when making a wish list is a longer life for the battery, but that is only part of the issue with rechargeable battery. Another big part of the picture when it comes to rechargeable batteries is how long it takes to charge the battery.

Toshiba announced today that it has developed a new type of rechargeable battery dubbed the Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB). Toshiba claims the new battery will mainly target the industrial market, though representatives hint the technology may eventually find a home in electric vehicles.

The main claim to fame for the SCiB battery is that it can recharge to 90% of total capacity in fewer than five minutes. Toshiba also claims the battery has a life span of over 10-years.

Toshiba says that it adopted a new negative electrode material, new separators, a new electrolyte and new manufacturing technology to bring the SCiB to life.

The SCiB batteries can recharge with as much as 50 amperes of current and but with capacity loss after 3,000 cycles of less than 10%. Toshiba also says the battery has excellent safety with the new negative electrode material having a high level of thermal stability and a high flash point. The battery is also said to be structurally resistant to internal short-circuiting and thermal runaway.

Anyone familiar with the technology industry will know what Toshiba is most known for, the massive battery recalls in notebook computers from early this year.

Though not as widespread as Sony's battery woes, Toshiba wants to put these fears of using its products out of the minds of buyers. If the battery technology makes it into notebook computers and other consumer electronics, it could revolutionize mobility.

The first of these batteries will be ready for industrial uses in March of 2008.

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By UppityMatt on 12/11/2007 3:15:16 PM , Rating: 3
If this does everything that the article claims, its going to revolutionize the way we use mobile technologies. Can you imagine using a laptop for 2-3 hours and only have to plug it in for 5 minutes to be at 90% battery life again. WOW!

RE: Amazing
By GhandiInstinct on 12/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: Amazing
By gradoman on 12/11/2007 3:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
Toshiba also says the battery has excellent safety with the new negative electrode material having a high level of thermal stability and a high flash point. The battery is also said to be structurally resistant to internal short-circuiting and thermal runaway.

And I'm supposed to believe you for what reason? Care to explain why they'd blow up?

RE: Amazing
By Moishe on 12/11/2007 3:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
Chances are Toshiba actually knows what they're doing... Got any way to back that up or are you just trolling?

RE: Amazing
By Alexstarfire on 12/11/2007 3:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad they don't say how many cycles the battery can go through before it's all used up. 3000 cycles for an electric vehicle can be used in less than a year. I guess that would depend on how far the car can go in 1 charge, among other things.

RE: Amazing
By Jedi2155 on 12/11/2007 3:30:59 PM , Rating: 3
It's all about wear leveling and managment. The NiMH cells are typically advertised to lsat around 500-100 "Full discharge cycles" but we see some of them still going strong in some Priuses at 250,000+ miles. Li-Ion technology were typically advertised to be around 300-500 cycles and we're going to put them into EV's.

I think 3000 cycles is far greater than anything in the consumer market right now....assuming they actually do what it says it does.

RE: Amazing
By Jedi2155 on 12/11/2007 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, from the PR itself

2. Long-life cycle
Capacity loss after 3,000 cycles of rapid charge and discharge is less than 10%. SCiB has an excellent long lifecycle, and is able to repeat the charge-discharge cycle over 5,000 times. This means that the SCiB can be continuously used for more than 10 years with a once-a-day recharge-discharge cycle.

RE: Amazing
By Etsp on 12/11/2007 3:32:16 PM , Rating: 4
I won't be buying an electric car if I have to recharge it 8 to 10 times a day...

RE: Amazing
By retrospooty on 12/11/2007 4:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... ya, I think his math is a lil bit off ;)

RE: Amazing
By Chernobyl68 on 12/11/2007 7:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
5 minutes would make it essentially the same as filling up your car at a gas station. So it makes it feasible to take your electric only car on cross country trips. You might have to fill up more often, but at least it won't take you hours to recharge your car battery pack.

RE: Amazing
By Ringold on 12/11/2007 9:55:15 PM , Rating: 3
That'll be good for resteraunts.

Imagine; 2-3 parking spaces at every fast food and Cracker Barrel across America along high-ways with a simple plug in port and a device like a coin-operated parking meter.. feed it a dollar, or whatever the energy is worth plus a profitable mark-up, then go to the bathroom, get a cheeseburger, or sit down to eat. Come back, ready to go.

Beautiful. Probably not a huge profit machine, but a boon in convenience.

RE: Amazing
By mcnabney on 12/12/2007 12:21:58 AM , Rating: 2
That would actually be a brilliant idea. Kind of like having Redbox at all of the McDonalds restaurants. It is just power coming off the grid. All they would need is some electrical work and they can start generating a revenue stream. It is 5 years off at the very earliest, but it is good to get the marketing in front of the problem for once.

RE: Amazing
By spluurfg on 12/11/2007 8:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
But perhaps a hybrid vehicle where the batteries are being recharged by a gasoline engine and recycled energy from the braking system? Granted though, even then I doubt you'd see 8-10 full charge/discharge cycles.

RE: Amazing
By leexgx on 12/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Amazing
By HaZaRd2K6 on 12/11/2007 3:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
If this battery can put in anywhere near as much mileage as my car can put on a single tank of gas (somewhere in the region of 500-600km depending on conditions and aggressiveness), then it'll be charged/discharged nowhere near 3,000 times in a year. It just makes sense not to plug it in when it's not needed. Do you fill your car up with gas after every trip? The same would apply here: only plug it in when it's needed.

As for mobile applications, what would be really great is if they could make it backwards-compatible for older applications. When my laptop battery eventually dies, I'd love to buy one of these to replace it instead of using "old" Lithium ions. And cellphone batteries could last even longer and charge in even shorter amounts of time. My Samsung's battery only takes about an hour to fully charge from being completely dead and if I don't make any calls it lasts me about four or five days without needing to be charged.

RE: Amazing
By rcc on 12/11/2007 4:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
When my laptop battery eventually dies, I'd love to buy one of these to replace it instead of using "old" Lithium ions

It would be nice, however, even if it works the recharge benefit wouldn't be there as you'd have to replace the recharging circuit in the notebook computer as well. Still a step up though. Same with the cell phone.

They could provide an external charger for retrofit applications. Then you could either let it charge slowly in place, or pull it out for a quick charge.

OTOH, it does beg one more question. Anything that is sucking up 50 amps of current is likely to get warm, and if future units are built into consumer electrics you're talking about providing much more robust power supplies and power routing.

RE: Amazing
By Chernobyl68 on 12/11/2007 7:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
to make it compatible with existing laptops (as ina replacement battery) the charging circuit would need to be able of handling the high current draw, which isn't likely.
Also, if they're stating 50 amps of house current (120v), anybody happen to know how many 50 amp breakers you have in your house? damn few...

RE: Amazing
By DigitalFreak on 12/11/2007 8:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think I've ever even seen a 50A 120v circuit. Most anything over 20A is 208/240v

RE: Amazing
By mindless1 on 12/11/2007 11:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't claiming 50A of household AC current, it's the current rate for charging the cells at their respective voltage.

Note that means in some applications the voltage could even be higher than 120V, but for most it would be lower.

Note also it is meant for industrial uses, not a replacement for your consumer devices that're charged from a residential wall outlet.

IF the tech took off and everyone started buying battery powered cars, it wouldn't be a big deal to wire a garage to supply 50A @ 120V, but more significant would be the toll on existing power infrastructure because it means up to multiple times the power delivery to any part of a grid in the evening when everyone comes home and charges their car.

RE: Amazing
By tallcool1 on 12/11/2007 3:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
Can you imagine using a laptop for 2-3 hours and only have to plug it in for 5 minutes to be at 90% battery life again. WOW!

Yea, that would be great EXCEPT the article clearly states that this new battery technology will be...
Toshiba claims the new battery will mainly the industrial market, and perhaps eventually in electric vehicles.

RE: Amazing
By LumbergTech on 12/11/2007 3:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
aka very expensive

RE: Amazing
By TomZ on 12/11/2007 3:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely. Industrial applications are more willing to adopt the high-power chargers that would be required to quick-charge this type of battery. The common 50-100W AC adapters we use today with laptops don't come anywhere close to providing enough power to recharge this type of battery quickly. So the cost and size of the charger are probably issues that make it challenging for consumer use.

RE: Amazing
By rudy on 12/11/2007 3:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
If they really thought it was useful in that market they would already be jumping in, since they are not it is apparent this battery has some drawback such as its heavy or expensive. Most likely it is just to large for mobile applications. Second you will need new outlets to handle 50 amps, something more likely to be used in fork lifts or as they say industrial applications.

RE: Amazing
By TomZ on 12/11/2007 4:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
That's 50A at 2.4-24V, which is 120-1200W which is in the range of what can be sourced by a typical 120VAC outlet.

RE: Amazing
By mcnabney on 12/12/2007 12:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
For reference, the small space heater sitting behind me draws 1500 watts. So does your hair dryer.

RE: Amazing
By Resh on 12/11/2007 4:03:43 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the high recharge rate is a function of the current supplied at charging? If so, this 5 mins to reach 90% might only apply when it is fed 50 amps. Do the plugs we use for electric ovens/ranges supply 50 amps @ 240V?

RE: Amazing
By rcc on 12/11/2007 5:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
It is absolutely a function of the current that can be supplied. If it's only 25 amps, you can double the charge time, etc.

As far as house current goes, as a rough example (very rought with no losses or conversions). If it's sucking up 50 amps at 24v, you'd need 5 amps at 240v from your wall outlet. And yes, I know there are losses, and you have to convert AC to DC, etc. It's just a quick and dirty comparison.

RE: Amazing
By Fnoob on 12/11/2007 8:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'd imagine these in a vehicle application could seriously benefit from regenerative breaking. Better still, a fancy new 'charge on the fly' highway system? Automatic charging at red lights? For 90% capacity within 5min, getting a little here and a little there would max them out on a short trip to.. wherever.

RE: Amazing
By acabtp on 12/13/2007 1:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
That wouldn't really work... Even though you'd be able to get the power into the battery much faster, it's still the same amount of power. So the whatever your hybrid car might have been able to charge by idling for 20 minutes could now be done in one minute, but require half or full throttle to keep up with the power demand. If you're putting X kw into the battery, it takes X kw of gasoline (charging off the motor) and/or trapped kinetic energy (regenerative braking), whether the charging time is a minute or an hour. This sort of tech will not make hybrids more efficient per se; just makes the energy storage more flexible to demands that vary over time. Nobody gets a free lunch.

RE: Amazing
By inperfectdarkness on 12/11/2007 9:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
50 amps max charging power. so you could probably charge in 25 minutes on 10 amps power.

this will definately be used in forklifts long before anything else. the bloody things are still using lead-acid batteries. huge inconvienience to have a lift down on the charger when you need to use it.

it also costs $$$ more in the long run, because you have employees pulling it off charge prematurely for work...and reducing the battery life.

by the time this becomes available in laptops...your current laptops will be long obsolete. i wouldn't worry about it.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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