Normal Lithium batteries take minutes to both charge and discharge the energy inside them. An MIT professor and his Graduate student have figured out a way to make these batteries charge and discharge in seconds so the user can have a quick recharge or serge of energy from the battery at any given time. To better understand this, the article used an example of a car to demonstrate the durability not density of energy from a car battery. One can drive 55 miles an hour for a long period of time; but at this rate to accelerate would take a long time due to the "lower-power density" it stores. However, devices called "ultracapacitors" do the exact opposite: do not run for a long period of time but release high densities of energy so that a car could accelerate quickly while already traveling at high speeds. The only downside is that you could not keep your high speed for the same distance as a normal car battery would be able to last. The MIT professor and his student built the Lithium-ion battery more chemically engineered as a ultracapacitor so that more energy density would result. The expected use of faster charge and discharge batteries include hybrid cars, electric cars, and new consumer products that may be been previously restricted by the "slow" charge and discharge of batteries. My hope is that the consumer products include more advanced cell-a-phone and lab-top batteries that will have the power to recharge in seconds while still maintaining a high battery life before it needs a recharge. The professor and his graduate student have gone about this by analyzing what was holding back the lithium ions from moving through the phosphate tunnels within the battery. A battery regains power or looses power bases on what direction the ions move through the phosphate tunnel; and the speed at which they do so is the result of how long it takes to loose or gain battery power. The research concluded when the Professor developed a new material that acts like a "beltway" inside the battery to ship the lithium ions right into the tunnels so that they can bring the battery new energy density and power never thought possible prior to the research. There is no telling where this discovery will take off to, or its practical use in our near future. However, a company called Phoenix Motorcars already experimented with the new batteries and charged a 160-kilometer range electric cart in ten minutes that was roughly thirty times faster than previous battery charges.
By Ryan krystopowicz
A Rapid-Recharge Lithium Battery
By Samuel K. Moore
First Published March 2009