Battery Breakthrough Offers 30 Times More Power, Charges 1,000 Times Faster

NEW YORK | Thursday, April 18th, 2013 10:29am EDT

Scientists at the University of Illinois claim they have created the most powerful microbatteries yet, that are so energy-dense that a mobile phone powered by them could be used to jumpstart a car.

The team at the University of Illinois team have utilised 3D-electrodes, which allow these new super batteries to be recharged 1,000 times faster than the current generation of batteries. Photo: Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Battery technology has improved over the past decade, but now scientists claim they have made a giant leap in power storage, giving lithium-ion batteries 30 times more power and the ability to recharge 1,000 times faster “than competing technologies.”

Researchers at the university say these new microbatteries even out-power the best super capacitors and could be used to power consumer electronics as well as cars.

This is a battery breakthrough that could change the world — it’s “a whole new way to think about batteries,” according to its creators. The team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, headed up by Professor William King, wrote about the technology in the April 16 issue of Nature Communications.

According to King, battery technology has “lagged far behind” the technology it powers. He says in a press release that his microtechnology “could change all of that. Now the power source is as high performance as the rest of it.”

“This is a whole new way to think about batteries. A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small.

“The thinking parts of computers have gotten small [sic]. 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.”

With so much power, the batteries could enable sensors or radio signals that broadcast 30 times farther, or devices 30 times smaller. The batteries can also charge 1,000 times faster than competing technologies so that phones the size of a credit card could be recharged in less than a second.

Unlike other types of energy storage, these batteries have the ability to hold a lot of energy and discharge it quickly. For other types of batteries, you have to choose between this ability to hold energy and the speed with which it can be discharged, informs the Green Card.

The team at the University of Illinois team have utilised 3D-electrodes, which allow these new super batteries to be recharged 1,000 times faster than the current generation of batteries.

At the moment, when a device such a smartphone or tablet is connected to a battery, a reaction occurs that produces electrical energy. This is known as an electrochemical reaction.

The battery itself has two parts, an anode (-), a cathode (+). The cathode and anode are hooked up to an electrical circuit, says Tech Week.

King said the technology could be available for consumers in “perhaps 1-2 years, reports Mashable.

“Where might we see these super batteries first? Says King, “The first applications of this technology will be to be replace super capacitors in radios and personal electronics.”

Scientists are pushing hard to produce the next great battery advancement. In March 2011, a team of electrical engineers at Illinois University revealed they were developing a new type of battery that could extend the running time of mobile phones a hundredfold.

That battery used carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, rather than traditional metal wires.

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