This Lithium-Ion Battery Can Be Recharged To 70% In 2 Minutes

NOV 2 2014 BY MARK KANE 32

Meanwhile, over in Europe Kia is installing ABB multistandard fast chargers capable of 100 kW.

Well, 100 kW might not be enough

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) recently announced a major breakthrough in batteries – ultra-fast charging capability. The novelty is anode material:

“In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide.”

Recharging up to 70 percent takes just 2 minutes.

The second breakthrough is a long expected lifespan of over 20 years.

According to the NTU team, this could have “a wide-ranging impact on all industries, especially for electric vehicles.

So, let’s think about this.

2 minutes to charge ~15 kWh (70%) of car like a Nissan LEAF needs 450 kW of power. This is 10-times what typical CHAdeMO chargers put out.

To do the same thing with a Tesla Model S 85 kWh, you must be well above 1 MW of power or maybe even at almost 2 MW.

It sounds like we definitely will need some new standard for that, maybe two additional heavy duty pins on the Combo plugs?

It’s hard to believe that we will get something like this anytime soon, however there could be applications for it, at least where currently available lithium-titanate are not up to the task (under 10 minute charging).

There is one question we’re left wondering what the answer is. We don’t see in the press release any indication of energy density, so what is it?

Here is the full press release:

“Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes.

The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.

This breakthrough has a wide-ranging impact on all industries, especially for electric vehicles, where consumers are put off by the long recharge times and its limited battery life.

With this new technology by NTU, drivers of electric vehicles could save tens of thousands on battery replacement costs and can recharge their cars in just a matter of minutes.

Commonly used in mobile phones, tablets, and in electric vehicles, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries usually last about 500 recharge cycles. This is equivalent to two to three years of typical use, with each cycle taking about two hours for the battery to be fully charged.

In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is an abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays.

Naturally found in spherical shape, the NTU team has found a way to transform the titanium dioxide into tiny nanotubes, which is a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. This speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for superfast charging.

Invented by Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, the science behind the formation of the new titanium dioxide gel was published in the latest issue of Advanced Materials, a leading international scientific journal in materials science.

Prof Chen and his team will be applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype. With the help of NTUitive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTU  set up to support NTU start-ups, the patented technology has already attracted interest from the industry.

The technology is currently being licensed by a company for eventual production. Prof Chen expects that the new generation of fast-charging batteries will hit the market in the next two years. It also has the potential to be a key solution in overcoming longstanding power issues related to electro-mobility.

“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” added Prof Chen.

“Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”

The 10,000-cycle life of the new battery also mean that drivers of electric vehicles would save on the cost of battery replacements, which could cost over US$5,000 each.

Easy to manufacture

According to Frost & Sullivan, a leading growth-consulting firm, the global market of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is projected to be worth US$23.4 billion in 2016.

Lithium-ion batteries usually use additives to bind the electrodes to the anode, which affects the speed in which electrons and ions can transfer in and out of the batteries.

However, Prof Chen’s new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes eliminates the need for these additives and can pack more energy into the same amount of space.

Manufacturing this new nanotube gel is very easy. Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are mixed together and stirred under a certain temperature so battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate the new gel into their current production processes.
Recognised as the next big thing by co-inventor of today’s lithium-ion batteries

NTU professor Rachid Yazami, the co-inventor of the lithium-graphite anode 30 years ago that is used in today’s lithium-ion batteries, said Prof Chen’s invention is the next big leap in battery technology.

“While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and its performance improved since Sony commercialised it in 1991, the market is fast expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage,” said Prof Yazami, who is not involved in Prof Chen’s research project.

Last year, Prof Yazami was awarded the prestigious Draper Prize by The National Academy of Engineering for his ground-breaking work in developing the lithium-ion battery with three other scientists.

“However, there is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in electric vehicles should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen’s nanostructured anode has proven to do so.”

Prof Yazami is now developing new types of batteries for electric vehicle applications at the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N).

This battery research project took the team of four scientists three years to complete. It is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Programme of Nanomaterials for Energy and Water Management.”

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32 Comments on "This Lithium-Ion Battery Can Be Recharged To 70% In 2 Minutes"

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“We don’t see in the press release any indication of energy density, so what is it?”

Bad enough that it’s not much to speak of. Lithium titanate batteries have been known for their quick charge capabilities for a while now (SCiB, Altairnano). It’s just a matter of increasing the energy density of the batteries so that they’re useful. These might work great to buffer a fuel cell or for stationary grid storage but not much else.

Grid storage is one leg of the renewable/EV/storage trifecta that matters. I saw this piece a while back and wanted to post it but I was afraid of getting hammered over the energy density too. Still hats off Mark for posting it. And thanks Anthony for your knowledgeable input on the issue.

“However, there is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in electric vehicles should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen’s nanostructured anode has proven to do so.”

Density is less critical in commercial applications, like busses. They have a bit more flexibility in package room to spare and more opportunities for robust high power hookups. This would be an ideal first application point for the technology. Then migrate to private automobiles as size and cost can be optimized.

That, indeed, is the question. Toshiba Li-titanate already does a 10-minute charge at < 200 Wh/l, about one third of what you have a in a cell phone or a Tesla 18650 cell. If the pack is 3x the size or weight of regular Li-ion cells, do we still want this? Maybe for a bus which can recharge at each bus stop? Everything has an application of sorts

Plugging it in should be fun.
It should be quite a meaty cable.

or you can use four parallel cables if you have four separate battery packs. With automated truck charging station using several parallel cables should not be a problem.

Or you could install more than 1 charging port all leading to the same battery.

That filling station should be an interesting place, with numerous cables running to each car, everyone of them acting with the inveterate malignancy of cables everywhere and using all opportunities to snag and tangle.

It is so not going to happen.

Regarding cables:
A) you don’t need much thicker cables if you have a higher voltage
B) cables can made flexible with a ribbon design
C) further possibilities include a superconductor cable with a liquid nitrogen sheath:

But all the whole issue could be moot with auto pilot. You’d get near a charger, the car would place itself precisely, and a simple mechanism (possibly from the ground) would plug you in without even getting out of the car.

I guarantee that you’ll see this in home charging units from Tesla within 5 years.

Superconducting cables are nice, but the problem will be the connector, where the superconducting capability suddenly stops.

The connector and wiring inside the car can be as thick as needed to pass the current.

Remember that connectors are contact points, so even though the contact patch may be small, the length is also infinitesimally small.

Consider how booster cables can be thick, 8-gauge wire, but the clamps are still point contacts to the battery terminal.

Just yesterday there was clear headed article about LG Chem and their statement that there are no new lithium battery technologies coming in foreseeble future or in next 10 or 15 years. And this has been also Tesla’s position that they have not seen any new battery technology that could be useful in real world applications and offer better performance than their current NCA chemistry. Then why on Earth this kind of utter nonsense is yet again published here? Of course basic research is interesting as such, but it is about 99 % probabilty that basic research will not yield commercial applications. And if that 1 % happens to succeed, then it still takes about a decade to put it on markets. And when it gets to the market, it is still probable that some other technology has surpassed it that we just cannot anticipate. Ps. that 20 year life expectancy is just utter nonsense. If you calculate Tesla’s battery life expectancy using the same method you will get about 100 year life expectancy. Tesla battery cycle life is about 5000 and if one cycle means 500 km, then Tesla battery is good for 2 500 000 km. In real… Read more »

According to the press release:

“The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.”

Are they trying to say that lithium-ion batteries have a lifespan of only 2 years? (2 yrs x 10 = 20 years) Like Jouni said, utter nonsense.

Musk has previously stated capacity increases 20% a year, while price drops 20% a year. I’m good with that.

“However, Prof Chen’s new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes eliminates the need for these additives and can pack more energy into the same amount of space.”

Isn’t that a statement about energy density? Coming up with a specific number probably requires the prototype work they mention.

Are current titanium dioxide batteries low density?

The lithium batteries we have now charge plenty fast. The batteries are usually not the problem. Figuring out how to get that much power to them is the problem. Imagine how thick the cable would need to be to charge an EV in 2 minutes? I guess when we have superconducting charge cables, let me know.

Yeah it does.
Unfortunately there tends to be a trade off between stable, safe, long cycling chemistries such as lithium titanate and lithium iron phosphate as used by BYD and racier chemistries which have high energy density but are tougher to control and have lower cycle life but better energy density.

Both of these are due to the degree of reactivity, and it is difficult to have it all.

Ít is possible to use several parallel cables. this solves the thick cable problem. The good thing about EV charging is that if parallelism in battery pack and pack size are increased, then the charging rate can be increased almost indefinitely. It depends only how efficient is the battery cooling system to remove waste heat.

E.g. 85 kWh Tesla Model S charges about 400 miles per hour in Supercharging station. Therefore 160 kWh car could charge 800 miles per hour if it is used two superchargers simultaneusly.

and guest that that or something else led to insurmountable, as Tesla’s pack was as ‘from scratch’ as an engineer could hope for with nearly endless cell arrangement possibilities.

I presume that there was a pretty compelling reason for Not having 24 or 48 ‘cheap’ chargers working in tandem, as this would have been the Definitive time to do so if it brought benefit without causing insurmountable issues.

They are advertising 30 C charge rate.

We have 80 C DISCHARGE rates.

Seems doable 🙂

I’ve seen those claims from LiPo packs, and don’t believe it. 80C would be 480A from those 6000mAh packs. They don’t even have the wires to handle that.

This is another proof we need to migrate from the low 400 Volt to the more realistic 6000 Volts for fast charging. The 8000 cells in a Model S in a serial configuration can potentially even reach 25000 Volts. At 6000 Volt the cable size is not a problem anymore. In the same time we should migrate from cord charging to under the car contacts charging with the charger contacts being on top of a bump on the floor underneath the car. In that way secured contacts can be larger as well and this gives access to a Park& Forget system without the hurdle associated with cords. Of course you could still keep the cord for the low in the KW level charging at home or at old supercharger that wouldn’t have yet been upgraded to Megawatt level Hyperchargers.

“that wouldn’t have yet been upgraded to Megawatt level Hyperchargers.”…. Somehow I read this as “McDonald’s level Hyperchargers.”…

Lol. Perhaps you just had a diner there. But it really is upgraded to megawatt hypercharger, which is 1000 KW or about 7 times more then the present 135 KW Superchargers.

Any Application of below the car Physical Charging Interface needs to remember – that is where water, mud, salt spray in Northern Roads, and other ‘FUD & CRUD’ builds up on a vehicle.

To have a bottom of the car mechanical connection – would require some form of under body car wash, spray wash, rinse, & dry system prior to interconnecting. Not so hard to do – just remember to do it first – like a pull through Car Wash.

Car gets a quick under body wash & Blow Dry (20 – 30 seconds), under body door opens, and a power probe charger assembler rises up from the floor of the charger station, connecting, handshakes with the car, and starts charging, 90 seconds to 120 seconds later – it disconnects – and you have your extra 3 hours of driving re-charged!

Welcome to the Air Force and (on ground) ‘in-flight refueling’ – without the turbulence to deal with!

Question is about the 30% remaining: does it slow down as current batteries ?

70& in 10min is acceptable if these 70% would allow at least 200miles of HIHGWAY range.

people are hung up on the two minute thing. Forget about two minutes. how much power is required to get to 70% in say five minutes? Anything to shrink the “refill” time down.

Tesla is the recharge gold standard at what? 80% in 30 minutes? Could this enable 80% in 15 minutes? That would still be amazing.

Tesla claims 50% in 20 minutes, but it’s closer to 30 min.

If this is real, then it would start with smaller apps, like cell phones and other appliances where very fast charge times would be valuable.

For the cable issue this is why inductive charging may eventually take over. Buried in the pavement, able to spread the current over a large surface. It would also save time fiddling with the cable, and I assume an automatic payment system would follow.

I don’t believe an inductive charger will be able to produce over 10KW without adding a significant amount of weight to the car. Keep in mind the inductive charger has a coil of wire in the ground that is magnetically coupled to a matching coil of wire in the car. Even if you raised the voltage level of the inductive charger, the higher voltage would require thicker insulation and more area. Higher voltage also means more turns of wire which also adds to the area and weight.

2018 – where is it?