Science and technology
New battery materials can increase charging efficiency by nearly a thousand times
Researchers have shown that a recently discovered set of materials can enable rapid battery charging, increase the likelihood of a smartphone fully charging in minutes, and accelerate the adoption of major cleaning technologies such as electric vehicles and solar energy.
The rate at which the battery is charged depends in part on the rate at which positively charged particles (referred to as lithium ions) move toward the negative electrode, and the positively charged particles are then stored at the negative electrode. A major factor limiting the way we make fast-charging "super" batteries is the speed at which lithium ions move in ceramic media.
One possible solution is to make each material material smaller by using nanoparticles. However, the cost of nanoparticles is very expensive and the manufacturing process is complicated. Therefore, scientists have been looking for alternative materials to circumvent this problem.
Currently, researchers at the University of Cambridge have pointed out that a group of materials known as "tungsten tungsten oxide" can solve the above problems. With this material, lithium ions can be moved at very high speeds, which means the battery can be quickly charged.
The study, published in Nature, its first author, Kent Griffith, said, “The tungsten oxide is fundamentally different from other compounds.” This material was first discovered in 1965 and has a rigid and open structure. It has a larger particle size than other common battery materials.
To measure the movement of lithium ions in these unusual media, the researchers used techniques similar to those found in MRI scanners. They found that lithium ions move hundreds of times faster in these materials than traditional ceramic electrode materials.
Another advantage of these alternative materials is that they are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. Griffith said: "These oxides are easy to manufacture and do not require additional chemicals or solvents."
Optimized batteries can revolutionize the two environmental technologies of electric vehicles and solar grid storage.
According to Clare Grey, a professor of materials chemistry at the University of Cambridge, the next step is to optimize the use of this material throughout the battery, which can be recycled throughout the life of the electric vehicle. Clare added, “For example, people can quickly charge an electric bus at a station.”
Although Dan Brett, a professor of electrochemical engineering at University College London, did not participate in the research, he still expressed great appreciation for the discovery. "This discovery is exciting, especially for its battery performance." "The contribution," he said, "the real cleverness of this research work is the measurement mechanism it uses to measure the speed of movement of lithium ions through this material."
Brett concluded by adding: "The technology will further optimize these materials, so we can expect that in the future, [battery] power, energy and life will be improved."