Newly designed lithium batteries

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volts76
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Newly designed lithium batteries

U.S. engineers find way to build a better battery
Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:12pm EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]

1 of 1Full SizeBy Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. engineers have found a way to make lithium batteries that are smaller, lighter, longer lasting and capable of recharging in seconds.

The researchers believe the quick-charging batteries could open up new applications, including better batteries for electric cars.

And because they use older materials in a new way, the batteries could be available for sale in two to three years, a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Current rechargeable lithium batteries can store large amounts of energy, making them long-running. But they are stingy about releasing their power, making them discharge energy slowly and require hours to recharge.

Scientists traditionally have blamed slow-moving lithium ions -- which carry charge across the battery -- for this sluggishness.

However, about five years ago, Gerbrand Ceder and a team at MIT discovered that lithium ions in traditional lithium iron phosphate battery material actually move quite quickly.

"It turned out there were other limitations," Ceder said in a telephone interview.

Ceder and colleagues discovered that lithium ions travel through tunnels accessed from the surface of the material. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, it can quickly deliver a charge. But if the ion is not at the entrance, it cannot easily move there, making it less efficient at delivering a charge.

Ceder and colleagues remedied this by revamping the battery recipe. "We changed the composition of the base material and we changed the way it is made -- the heat treatment," Ceder said.

This created many smooth tunnels in the material that allow the ions to slip in and out easily. "The trick was knowing what to change," he said.

Using their new processing technique, the team made a small battery that could be fully charged in 10 to 20 seconds.

Ceder thinks the material could lead to smaller, lighter batteries because less material is needed for the same result.

And because they simply tinkered with a material already commonly used for batteries, it could be easily adapted for commercial use.

"If manufacturers decide they want to go down this road, they could do this in a few years," Ceder said.

One glitch, Ceder said, would be handling the extra surge of power. "All of the wiring has to get beefed up," he said.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Cynthia Osterman)

wheelie
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

wow.

oobflyer
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

Sounds like a real break-through. Great work M.I.T.

AndY1
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

That's good to hear. This could recharge any EV vehicle very fast and regen energy would fully go back to the battery - without any loss due to to high current.

turok
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

I may be wrong, but aren't these batteries already available as A123 batteries? (www.A123systems.com)
Dewalt Machines are already sold with them, it seems that they can be recharged in 5 minutes to 90% charge..
Bu I might be confusing technologies..
Anyway, that's why I think the NiMh batteries in Vectrix are obsolete by now..

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

Buzby
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

Obsolete?

Better the devil you know I think. (Especially when I'm being asked to pay for it). Let someone else experiment with their money... I'm happy that my Vectrix does what it does - I'm not against evolution, but if the Vectrix is 'old' technology, what are 99% of the vehicles coming out of Ford and GM?

- Raymond

AndY1
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

I may be wrong, but aren't these batteries already available as A123 batteries? (www.A123systems.com)
Dewalt Machines are already sold with them, it seems that they can be recharged in 5 minutes to 90% charge..
Bu I might be confusing technologies..
Anyway, that's why I think the NiMh batteries in Vectrix are obsolete by now..

I don't think so. LiPo batteries, I use for RC helicopter, lose 0.1% of capacity per cycle. That doesn't sound much , but when you multiply the number with 100 cycles, you get 10% capacity reduction. That's a lot and it's proven. After 150 cycles, my RC's battery lose capacity and internal resistance increases so much, that I hardly get enough juice out of them to safely make a loop.
Same goes for Li-Ion laptop batteries.

On the other hand, NiMH batteries are proved to last for years. Sure, they need to be fully discharged from time to time, but that's mostly it. It's proven tech, whereas I haven't been proven, that Li-Ion tech lasts long enough.

turok
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Re: Newly designed lithium batteries

Andy,
Bit off topic maybe, but I fly heli's too, I have a ZOOM 400 with a 3-cell Li-Po and a brushless motor.
When I bought it, I was absolutely amazed about the power and acceleration of it, especially because the battery and motor together are no bigger then my cell phone. (enough on youtube to be found)
Then I got interested in electric vehicles and here I am :-)

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

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