Battery Breakthrough enables ‘Holy Grail’ of super fast-charging electric cars

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Tesla vehicles and other electric cars have a range of around 500km but the battery takes around an hour to charge

Recharging a car could be almost as quick as refueling.

Engineers say they are close to achieving the “holy grail” of batteries after a major breakthrough brought forward the possibility of charging electric vehicles in mere minutes.

The advance could provide electric cars with 500km of range from just 10 minutes of charging, researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) said.

“The combination of high energy, high [charging] rate, and long cycle life is the holy grail of battery research, which is determined by one of the key components of the battery: the electrode materials,” said USTC professor Hengxing Ji.

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Tesla’s ‘million-mile battery’ could sound the death knell for combustion engines

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New battery tech may make EVs cost the same as traditional smog spitters.

 Tesla has long been locked in a battle with fundamental chemistry to reach its holy grail: the point on the curve at which its electric vehicles can be sold at a price comparable to gasoline cars. The company might be reaching that inflection point, with Reuters reporting that Tesla will soon introduce a low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China. Given Tesla’s ongoing ascent and technological dominance in the EV sector, the news must be giving rival carmaker’s execs sleepless nights.

The report comes as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing a “Battery Day” expected to take place in June, where he says the company’s announcements will make it “one of the most exciting days in Tesla’s history.”

Musk has made it clear repeatedly that the cost per kilowatt-hour of Tesla’s batteries has been a major roadblock to selling the cars at a price competitive with traditional internal combustion vehicles. That, in turn, has been an obstacle to their mass adoption. But beyond boosting sales, Musk envisions the new batteries having a second life on the power grid as storage devices, which could help him achieve another goal: A move to a sustainable-energy focused economy.

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Elon Musk’s million-mile battery dreams are about to come true

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Researchers have developed a new battery for electric vehicles that can last 1 million miles.

Researchers have been working on increasing the power and life cycle of the batteries we use in electric vehicles while maintaining safety standards for years. A battery reaching its end of life, with diminishing returns, would be a long term nightmare for both customers and companies.

A team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center claims to have developed a powerful battery that can last for 1 million miles. Elon Musk promised last year that Tesla cars would at some point have batteries that last a million miles, and it seems this battery can do just that.

As Tesla learned years ago, a lithium-ion battery that has a high energy density can catch fire or even explode in certain circumstances. That’s obviously something any electric vehicle manufacturer wants to avoid, but we also want our electric vehicles to have batteries that are powerful and long-lasting. Researchers at Penn State appeared to have created a battery that’s stable, powerful and has a very long life using a counterintuitive approach.

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Researchers achieve a 10x supercapacitor energy density breakthrough

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This flexible graphene supercapacitor design can store 10 times more energy than comparable existing technology

Supercapacitors can charge almost instantly, and discharge enormous amounts of power if needed. They could completely erase the Achilles heel of electric vehicles – their slow charging times – if they could hold more energy. And now Chinese and British scientists say they’ve figured out a way to store 10 times more energy per volume than previous supercapacitors.

A team split between University College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has released a study and proof of concept of a new supercapacitor design using graphene laminate films and concentrating on the spacing between the layers, the researchers discovering that they could radically boost energy density when they tailored the sizes of pores in the membranes precisely to the size of electrolyte ions.

Using this design, the team says it’s achieved a massive increase in volumetric energy density. Where “similar fast-charging commercial technology” tends to offer around 5-8 watt-hours per liter, this new design has been tested at a record 88.1 Wh/l. The team claims it’s “the highest ever reported energy density for carbon-based supercapacitors.”

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MIT’s solid-state battery breakthrough may see phones last for days

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A breakthrough in battery architecture could lead to lithium batteries with far greater energy densities than those used today

One of the many ways scientists hope to improve the performance of today’s lithium batteries is by swapping out some of the liquid components for solid ones. Known as solid-state batteries, these experimental devices could greatly extend the life of electric vehicles and mobile devices by significantly upping the energy density packed inside. Scientists at MIT are now reporting an exciting advance toward this future, demonstrating a new type of solid-state battery architecture that overcomes some limitations of current designs.

In a regular lithium battery, a liquid electrolyte serves as the medium through which the lithium ions travel back and forth between the anode and cathode as the battery is charged and discharged. One problem is that this liquid is highly volatile and can sometimes result in battery fires, like those that plagued Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Replacing this liquid electrolyte for a solid material wouldn’t just make batteries safer and less prone to fires, it could also open up new possibilities for other key components of the battery. The anode in today’s lithium batteries is made from a mix of copper and graphite, but if it were made of pure lithium instead, it could break the “energy-density bottleneck of current Li-ion chemistry,” according to a recent study published in Trends in Chemistry.

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New battery tech can keep your smartphone charged for five continuous days

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The new high-capacity lithium-sulfur batteries can pave way for cheaper electric cars and solar grids.

Researchers have developed a new solution that is capable of powering smartphones for five continuous days or electric cars to run over 1,000 km without needing to refuel.

The new battery solution does away with the traditional lithium-ion combination in modern batteries that power devices such as smartwatches, smartphones, and even pacemakers. Instead, researchers used lithium-sulfur batteries to achieve ultra-high capacity.

Researchers at Australia-based Monash University said the team could re-configure the design of sulfur cathodes using the existing materials in standard lithium-ion batteries. The reconfiguration helped researchers achieve higher stress levels without registering any drop in overall capacity or performance.

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Scientists develop superfast-charging, high-capacity potassium batteries

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Skoltech researchers in collaboration with scientists from the Institute for Problems of Chemical Physics of RAS and the Ural Federal University have shown that high-capacity, high-power batteries can be made from organic materials without lithium or other rare elements. In addition, they demonstrated the impressive stability of cathode materials and recorded high energy density in fast charge/discharge potassium-based batteries. The results of their studies were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters and Chemical Communications.

Lithium-ion batteries are widely used for energy storage, particularly in portable electronics. The demand for batteries is surging due to the rapid advancement of electric vehicles with high requirements for lithium. For example, Volvo intends to increase the share of electric vehicles to 50 percent of its overall sales by 2025, and Daimler announced its plans to give up internal combustion engines altogether, shifting the emphasis to electric vehicles.

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First fully rechargeable carbon dioxide battery is seven times more efficient than lithium ion

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 Lithium-carbon dioxide batteries are attractive energy storage systems because they have a specific energy density that is more than seven times greater than commonly used lithium-ion batteries. Until now, however, scientists have not been able to develop a fully rechargeable prototype, despite their potential to store more energy.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are the first to show that lithium-carbon dioxide batteries can be designed to operate in a fully rechargeable manner, and they have successfully tested a lithium-carbon dioxide battery prototype running up to 500 consecutive cycles of charge/recharge processes.

Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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Graphene sponge helps lithium sulphur batteries reach new potential

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An illustration of the Chalmers design for a lithium sulfur battery. The highly porous quality of the graphene aerogel allows for high enough soaking of sulfur to make the catholyte concept worthwhile. Credit: Yen Strandqvist/Chalmers University of Technology

To meet the demands of an electric future, new battery technologies will be essential. One option is lithium sulphur batteries, which offer a theoretical energy density more than five times that of lithium ion batteries. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently unveiled a promising breakthrough for this type of battery, using a catholyte with the help of a graphene sponge.

The researchers’ novel idea is a porous, sponge-like aerogel made of reduced graphene oxide that acts as a free-standing electrode in the battery cell and allows for better and higher utilisation of sulphur.

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How we get to the next big battery breakthrough

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Electric planes could be the future of aviation. In theory, they will be much quieter, cheaper, and cleaner than the planes we have today. Electric planes with a 1,000 km (620 mile) range on a single charge could be used for half of all commercial aircraft flights today, cutting global aviation’s carbon emissions by about 15%.

It’s the same story with electric cars. An electric car isn’t simply a cleaner version of its pollution-spewing cousin. It is, fundamentally, a better car: Its electric motor makes little noise and provides lightning-fast response to the driver’s decisions. Charging an electric car costs much less than paying for an equivalent amount of gasoline. Electric cars can be built with a fraction of moving parts, which makes them cheaper to maintain.

So why aren’t electric cars everywhere already? It’s because batteries are expensive, making the upfront cost of an electric car much higher than a similar gas-powered model. And unless you drive a lot, the savings on gasoline don’t always offset the higher upfront cost. In short, electric cars still aren’t economical.

Similarly, current batteries don’t pack in enough energy by weight or volume to power passenger aircrafts. We still need fundamental breakthroughs in battery technology before that becomes a reality.

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Tenfold improvement in liquid batteries mean electric car refuelling could take minutes

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Tenfold improvement in liquid batteries mean electric car refuelling could take minutes.

Big companies from around the world have already shown interest in Prof. Lee Cronin’s energy-dense liquid battery.

One of the biggest drawbacks of electric vehicles – that they require hours and hours to charge – could be obliterated by new type of liquid battery that is roughly ten times more energy-dense than existing models, according to Professor Lee Cronin, the Regius Chair of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, UK.

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