MIT Improves Lithium Batteries

Discussion in 'Hybrid' started by Ike, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,533
    Likes: 367, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Engineers at MIT have found a way to mkae much better lithium batteries. This could have a significant imapct for electric cars and boats.

    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090312/tc_nm/us_batteries_4

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. engineers have found a way to make lithium batteries that are smaller, lighter, longer lasting and capable of recharging in seconds.

    The researchers believe the quick-charging batteries could open up new applications, including better batteries for electric cars.

    And because they use older materials in a new way, the batteries could be available for sale in two to three years, a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

    Current rechargeable lithium batteries can store large amounts of energy, making them long-running. But they are stingy about releasing their power, making them discharge energy slowly and require hours to recharge.

    Scientists traditionally have blamed slow-moving lithium ions -- which carry charge across the battery -- for this sluggishness.

    However, about five years ago, Gerbrand Ceder and a team at MIT discovered that lithium ions in traditional lithium iron phosphate battery material actually move quite quickly.

    "It turned out there were other limitations," Ceder said in a telephone interview.

    Ceder and colleagues discovered that lithium ions travel through tunnels accessed from the surface of the material. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, it can quickly deliver a charge. But if the ion is not at the entrance, it cannot easily move there, making it less efficient at delivering a charge.

    Ceder and colleagues remedied this by revamping the battery recipe. "We changed the composition of the base material and we changed the way it is made -- the heat treatment," Ceder said.

    This created many smooth tunnels in the material that allow the ions to slip in and out easily. "The trick was knowing what to change," he said.

    Using their new processing technique, the team made a small battery that could be fully charged in 10 to 20 seconds.

    Ceder thinks the material could lead to smaller, lighter batteries because less material is needed for the same result.

    And because they simply tinkered with a material already commonly used for batteries, it could be easily adapted for commercial use.

    "If manufacturers decide they want to go down this road, they could do this in a few years," Ceder said.

    One glitch, Ceder said, would be handling the extra surge of power. "All of the wiring has to get beefed up," he said.

    (Editing by Maggie Fox and Cynthia Osterman)
     
  2. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,373
    Likes: 254, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3380
    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    That's a huge leap! The one that could make a difference in favor of electric vehicles.
    At this point, one could imagine a new scenario: no longer would huge storage capacities be needed on-board, but a well-distributed coastal net of recharging stations. If well organized, it could allow a boater to make a long coastal cruises with a number of really quick stops to "fill up" the voltage.

    What is still to be explored, as with every new battery technology, is the lifespan of this knew type of batteries. It appears to me that, generally speaking, charge/discharge speed and battery longevity are inversely related to each other. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,533
    Likes: 367, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    It also makes it possible to fully recharge batteries with paasive systems such as solar cells or wind generators, without having to run a generator for hours.
     
  4. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,373
    Likes: 254, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3380
    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    That is more problematic, imho. The bottleneck is the production of electric energy. For every HP delivered by the motor in 1 hr of navigation you consume 746 Wh of energy (neglecting the conversion/charge/distribution efficiencies - which is pretty gross). Even if you planned to make a 1 hr stop for every hour of navigation it takes a lots of solar pannels to provide the power necessary.
    They would need to deliver at least 746 Wh of energy for each HP of motor power to recharge the batteries for the next leg. Considering the common solar cells with 10-15% efficiencies and a bright, sunny day with some 1000 Wh per square meter available from the sun, it turns out that for every HP of motor power you need more than 5.0 square meters of solar pannels on board.
    It leaves little space for chicks to sunbathe in topless, which is a real shame.
     
  5. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 3,731
    Likes: 122, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1404
    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Yeah, they'd be mashed in close to the captain at the helm. There'd just be no room for them at all. What a cryin' shame.
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    It is not a NEW type of battery ,it is still the lithium batter but as explained they have found what was causing slow charging and cured it.

    Yes you will be able to charge up in 20 seconds( they say)thats about as quick as a gas up.

    Wonderfull fantastic,-- I hate waiting for my phone to charge up when I need it the most. Charging the batt drill when having a cuppa wil be great too.
     
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,533
    Likes: 367, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Yeah, no room for chicks, what's a boat for anyway?
     

  8. rjferran
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: San Diego

    rjferran New Member

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.