Charging your phone battery can be inconvenient and take awhile, but what if you could get a proper power refueling in just a few minutes? Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore say they developed a lithium-ion battery that can go from zero to 70% power capacity in two minutes. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in phones and tablets.
Perhaps even more importantly, the battery lasts much longer than the ones we have now, an attribute that could boost the electric car industry, developers said.
In contrast, Apple says its phone batteries are designed to “retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles”. Generally, the more you recharge a battery, the more it loses its luster over time.
The breakthrough here is with the battery’s anode or negative pole, which traditionally works with graphite. The graphite is replaced with a newly developed gel made from an “abundant, cheap and safe” material called titanium dioxide that’s found in soil. It’s also an active ingredient in sunscreen.
The researchers were able to morph the spherically-shaped titanium dioxide into tubular strands that are 1,000
than a human hair. The gel speeds up reactions taking place inside the new battery, propelling the hyper-fast recharging.
The researchers think the battery’s most important impact will be on the electric car industry. Potential adopters can be turned off by the long recharge times and shorter battery lifespans for electric vehicles.
With this battery, however, recharging your car — time wise — wouldn’t be so far off from filling up a tank a gas. It should take about five minutes to give you enough power to get back on the road and 15 minutes for a full charge, the researchers said in a statement.
Replacement batteries for electric cars are costly, too, with some priced at more than $5,000. Another benefit is that it would cut down on waste resulting from battery disposals.
When talking about ‘breakthrough’ for battery technology, expectations can be very high. Don’t treat this as consumer reality just yet, but it’s good to know that scientists are trying to make batteries more efficient.
Developers expect the new batteries to hit the market in the next two years.