Photo via: osde8info
One of the biggest complaints consumers can think up against rechargeable batteries is how darn long they take to recharge. Just for a small AA lithium battery it can take up to 4 hours to get a complete charge. Two researchers, Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have discovered a way to stuff a recharge worth of lithium ions into a AA battery in a matter of 9-seconds. Such technology will also have the capacity to spread through the gambit of various other rechargeable gadgets, such as cell phones, laptops, and yes, even electric vehicles.How do these New Rechargeable Batteries Work?
Lithium ion batteries are a simple means of moving lithium ions between electrodes to create a form of electricity. In general, the time it takes a lithium battery to charge is limited by how fast the electrons and ions can move between these electrodes, which up until now has been a pretty sluggish process. However, by reshaping the external surfaces of the lithium ions and using various additives on its surface, one can create a somewhat perfect-sized tunnel for the ions to blast through, creating what would be considered by today's standards, a ridiculously fast rate of charge.
A Great Concept, Yet Somewhat Stifled by the Grid
While a AA battery could charge in 9-seconds, a cellphone could be pumped up in a scant 10-seconds as long as you had the capability to pull a solid 360W over the course. But if a little cell phone battery requires so much, you can only begin to imagine the power requirements for an electric vehicle. In order to charge an average-sized electric car battery in 5-minutes, it would require about 180 kW of juice. That's some serious wattage. It has been suggested that a gas station-like center could be designed to handle these requirements as functionally as a typical gas station does now. This might help gain electric vehicles a more practical stance than they have now, but at what cost?
Does anyone see any other areas where these batteries would have either great potential usage or even greater unrealized limitation?