MANHASSET, NY -- A team of Northwestern University researchers has created an anode electrode for lithium-ion batteries that allows the batteries to hold a charge up to 10 times greater than using current technology.
Batteries with the new electrode also can charge 10 times faster than current batteries, according to the researchers.
In current rechargeable batteries, the anode is made of layers of carbon-based graphene sheets and can accommodate one lithium atom for every six carbon atoms.
The researchers sandwiched clusters of silicon between the graphene sheets which allowed for a greater number of lithium atoms in the electrode while utilizing the flexibility of graphene sheets to accommodate the volume changes of silicon during use.
The team also used a chemical oxidation process to create 10- to 20-nm holes in the graphene sheets to reduce the time it takes the battery to recharge by up to 10 times than with current technologies.
In the next phase of their work, researchers will study changes in the cathode that could further increase effectiveness of the batteries.
The technology could be ready commercially in the next three to five years, the researchers said.
The Energy Frontier Research Center program of the U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences, supported the research.
Mark, I think you are right, it will take more than 5 years to develop this technology (if it takes off)...researchers by nature are always too optimistic, but so are CEOs...in fact as soon as you say the technology will enter the marketplace in 10 years you are going to loose any interests around you ;-)...the best strategy, used by most people as far as I can tell, is to say 3-5 years, and then in 3 years repeat that statement until you succeed or go belly up...research in material science is particularly difficut and takes much longer than CMOS design (essentially just a new arrangement of rectangulars on a proven silicon platform) or writing an iPhone app...Kris
This has a familiar ring to it. Every now and again some well meaning blogger writes an article on the latest big technological "BREAKTHROUGH!"
What works in the lab often does not scale, or does not scale in an economically viable way, or the product eventually turns out great, but it takes three decades to make it so.
When I can buy a 4G phone that runs a week on a charge, or an affordable electric vehicle with a highway range of 400KM, I will happily admit the foolishness of my point of view. But, certainly in the 3-5 year time frame claimed, I think it's a safe bet that I will need to keep my charger and gas can handy.
Extraordinary if this can be deployed in a timely and cost effective manner. Holding more charge per pound and recharging quickly is of tremendous value for any application using batteries including hybrid vehicles and backup power systems. How many charge cycles can the new technology sustain? What is the projected cost?
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