MIT engineers, led by Professor Gerbrand Ceder, have developed a type of high-speed tunnel for transporting electrical energy through lithium iron phosphate. Why should we care what those snooty MIT engineers are up to? Because this new process could allow for smaller and lighter cell phone batteries that recharge in a matter of seconds rather than hours. It could also lead to a quick recharge of batteries in electric cars, potentially solving the long recharge inconvenience for drivers.
Traditional lithium rechargeable batteries have relatively slow power rates because the lithium ions responsible for carrying charge across the battery move very slow through the material. Ceder and his colleagues discovered that the ions should be moving much faster. The ions can move quickly only if high-speed tunnels existed in the material. Thus, the team created a new surface structure which allowed the lithium ions to move quickly around the outside of the material.
Since lithium iron phosphate is already a well-known battery material, we could see batteries using this new process within two or three years, according to Ceder. The picture of the material, above, shows how far along they are. But I can’t wait that long! Waiting a few hours for my cell phone battery to fully recharge is unacceptable. Not only will this process give us fast recharging capabilities, further tests showed that the new material does not degrade as much when repeatedly charged. Finally, I’m tired of dying batteries!
via TG Daily