New Li-ion micro-battery recharges 1,000 times faster. Perfect for the Tesla C?

New Li-ion micro-battery recharges 1,000 times faster. Perfect for the Tesla C?

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new breed of Lithium-ion micro-battery. These cells are smaller than traditional Li-ion batteries but can deliver “far more power than anybody ever thought”. In addition to their fantastic power supplying capability the new batteries will also be able to be charged “1,000 times faster” than current Li-ion cells. The implications for portable electronics and battery-powered cars could be enormous. According to VentureBeat the one major obstacle the researchers have to address is how to make cells manufacturable at costs low enough to be attractive.

What’s behind the new battery?

The A to Z of Nanotechnology news website sums up the key innovation in this new battery technology as “three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous electrodes”. Garnering a more plain-English explanation, the BBC interviewed the leader of the research efforts at the University of Illinois, Prof. William P. King, who explained “The battery electrodes have small intertwined fingers that reach into each other. That does a couple of things. It allows us to make the battery have a very high surface area even though the overall battery volume is extremely small”. As a result “we've reduced the flowing distance of the ions and electrons” meaning energy can be transferred, in and out, much faster.

In another statement discussing the research, Prof. King said “This is a whole new way to think about batteries. A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought.” He lamented the lack of progress in battery tech over the years, “In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it.”

What are the new battery technology capabilities?

“Any kind of electronic device is limited by the size of the battery – until now,” Prof. King said. “Consider personal medical devices and implants, where the battery is an enormous brick, and it’s connected to itty-bitty electronics and tiny wires. Now the battery is also tiny.” AtoZ Nano reports that the new batteries could enable devices to carry around 30 times more energy in the same amount of space that a conventional Li-ion battery uses up. Alternatively a device could output about 30 times more power over the same time. Manufacturers could choose their own optimal size/stamina balance for the devices they want to produce. Another researcher working on the project said that the new technology is not a progressive improvement but “breaks the normal paradigms of energy sources”.

The new battery tech is estimated to be in trials to power electronic equipment before the end of the year.

ishabazz | 18 aprile 2013

I was just going to post about this. Sounds like a potential game changer.

ghillair | 18 aprile 2013

The telling sentence in the article is:

"one major obstacle the researchers have to address is how to make cells manufacturable at costs low enough to be attractive."

Pace Makers and ICDs cost $5,000 to $15,000 and need one battery. A Tesla needs 8000 batteries. If they can't produce one battery at a cost affordable for medical device then enough for a car is several times the total cost of a Tesla today.

Conclusion: Another researcher with his hand out for more grant money only to prove in several years that it can't be affordably produced.

Roadster | 19 aprile 2013

Why would it not be possible to produce these batteries at a lower cost? Pretty much every new piece of technology is expensive at first and then it becomes cheaper and cheaper. Just look at computers or the batteries used today.

roseland67 | 19 aprile 2013

Do the math on the charging times,
required voltage would be astronomical
or wire size would be sewer pipe like.

Keeping the same power, size, reliability, availability and safety capabilities, small incremental increases, (2-3%/year), in energy density are what we will see in the near future.

JCESR et al, will come up with materials/technology that offer significant increases, but NO WAY Tesla incorporates these until they have been tested and re-tested many times.

We're getting there, just takes time and testing.

Bubba2000 | 19 aprile 2013

Such a hi energy density could make the battery unstable. In large formate like in BEV, it could be explosive. May be it could be used in smartphones, laptops, etc where the the small size would be easier to manage. Or even in toys.

Tesla is very cautious. They only used tested and mature battery technologies at a reasonable price. Their battery management system, computer controlled inverter, induction motor optimize the output. The last thing they need is one of their cars catching fire or even a bricked battery.

More likely, we will see incremental improvements in MS/MX. New Si-Graphene anodes and Mn rich cathodes along with optimized electrolytes will improve energy density. These advances will be introduced gradually by the likes of Panasonic, LG Chem, etc first in small devices like cellphones, laptops, etc.

Meanwhile, Panasonic is already selling higher capacity batteries that the models used by Tesla. I think Tesla is waiting for the tech to prove itself and prices to come down. Meanwhile, they could used the Frunk recess to add some more battery capacity.

Brian H | 19 aprile 2013

Sorry, guys. TM will not be doubling the thickness of the pack or stuffing the frunk with more cells. Such kluges are way too undignified; the battery will be upgraded in due course, however.

DallasTeslan | 23 aprile 2013

Wait a minute. I thought that Petersen guy said batteries really couldn't be improved unless you could invent a new periodic table???

Brian H | 24 aprile 2013

He's a fool. Structure counts. Massively.

Vawlkus | 24 aprile 2013

He also says that NINMH are exactly the same as Li-Ion, and that acid batteries are the best things since sliced bread.

DallasTeslan | 24 aprile 2013

I was being sarcastic....

Vawlkus | 24 aprile 2013

Smilies are de regur for such comments, else they will be take as serious

Maiky Nisute | 27 aprile 2013

the price most likely has to do with the quantity. Look at the prces of the SD cart and many other products. The more there are made ans sold the lower the price gets.