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MIT battery tech recharges in seconds

updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed March 11, 2009

MIT Fast Recharge Battery

MIT scientists led by professor Gerbrand Ceder today said they have developed a new improvement on lithium-ion battery packs that could potentially eliminate the need for long recharge times or, in some cases, for larger batteries. By applying a coating of lithium phosphate to an existing battery design, the researchers steer the ions more directly to the "tunnels" leading to the battery terminal and thus supply a charge much faster than the more passive approach used today.

Changing this behavior would let lithium-ion batteries send or receive a charge in short but intense bursts rather than at a moderate rate. A phone could potentially charge in as little as 10 seconds, according to the researchers, while even a plug-in gas/electric car like the Chevy Volt with a necessarily large battery could have a complete charge within a few minutes as long as the power source itself is capable. Any battery could also potentially be smaller, as electronics makers wouldn't need to put in a large battery capacity to handle occasional spikes in power use.

As the breakthrough is relatively conservative, the school says it should reach shipping products within 2-3 years and has already licensed its approach to two unnamed companies for use in commercial products.

The lithium phosphate coating material in raw form

by MacNN Staff



  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is this one real?

    A major battery company--Toshiba, I think, though I could be remembering wrong--announced a very similar thing to this a few years ago, but I hadn't heard anything since. I'm wondering if their announcement was related to this, or if this is a rediscovery and/or perfecting of the previous concept by a different set of researchers.

    Regardless, the ultimate question here is what the effective efficiency of the battery is. If the charging statistics given here are correct, then the efficiency must be huge--otherwise, the battery would generate so much heat over such a short period of time during one of these "burst" charges that it would melt/burn itself.

    And if it does indeed mean that the effective efficiency is huge, then this is a MASSIVE breakthrough for things like regenerative braking--it's basically a capacitor with the capacity of a battery.

    It would be big if the batteries have sufficient lifespan.

  1. bigjimid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Horay for the US

    President Obama wants the US to be the world leader in battery technology, well here's the first huge step. Like Makosuke said, put this technology in cars and you would never need to charge them externally again.

    Chevy Volt just went from 40 miles on pure battery, to unlimited miles on pure battery (exception of the entire life span of the battery).

    They'll be able to charge as fast as WALL-E.

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