November 30, 2011 01:10 by Jeremy
A recent groundbreaking study has led to success in increasing charging capacity and speed of lithium ion batteries. Professor Harold Kung and his group of engineers at Northwestern University have accomplished this feat by adjusting graphene layers, which are directly related to how fast charging can occur. Now, charging capcity and speed increase by a factor of ten, just by poking small holes in the battery's graphene layers.
Additionally, Kung's team also increased the density of lithium ions, which allowed for their test-batteries to last for over a week on a single charge. (The science behind it isn't so simple, of course.) The downside is that these lithium-ion batteries lost their fast-charging long-lasting abilities after roughly 150 charges, which is a drastic difference in how long lithium-ion batteries normally last.
If perfected, this science could help create the next generation lithium-ion battery. Check out the source link below for more info.
March 26, 2011 00:55 by Jeremy
What happens when you combine the energy storage of a battery with the charging rate of a capacitor? Hopefully, you'll get something like what Professor Paul Braun of Illinois has developed.
Braun (middle), along with postdoctoral researcher Huigang Zhang (right) and graduate student Xindi Yu (left), has developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes which allows for drastically increased charging and discharging, without losing overall capacity.
The downside is that the process of assmebling the inner parts is time-consuming; however, research can be easily picked up and continued since the processes are not limited to a particular type of battery. The group has already demonstrated usage in both Li-Ion and NiMH versions.
These types of batteries could be especially useful in electric vehicles. If research is continued in this field, it could be another candidate for future use, which would eventually mean the replacement of current types of batteries.
March 23, 2011 00:48 by Jeremy
Elon Musk, CEO of famed motor company Tesla, admits he believes that the long term war of energy in vehicles would be won by capacitors, not batteries. An ironic statement, coming from the man whose business currently utilizes numerous lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It's also a statement with a lot of weight behind it, considering the other accomplishments Musk has in his belt (including having a hand in the creation of PayPal).
"If I were to make a prediction, I'd think there's a good chance that it is not batteries. but capacitors," stated Musk recently while at the Cleanteach Forum in San Francisco.
Currently, batteries continue to be a leading resource for energy throughout the world. Musk's statement, however, is backed by the knowledge behind capacitors and ultracapacitors. For example, unlike batteries, they can withstand more charge / discharge cycles.
More research is needed behind capacitors and ultracapacitors, and before that happens, batteries will continue to provide the energy needed for many electronic devices. But perhaps one day, Musk's prediction that capacitors "will supercede" batteries will come true.
December 9, 2010 00:18 by Jeremy
A group of researchers led by Professor Reza Ghodssi at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, are using the properties of TMV (Tobacco mosaic virus) to help create smaller, more efficient lithium ion batteries.
The virus? TMV is a rod-shaped plant virus that attacks tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetation. According to the university's press release, the researchers, "mofify the TMV rods to bind perpendicularly to the metallic surface of a battery electrode and arrange the rods in intricate and orderly patterns on the electrode. Then, they coat the rods with a conductive thin film that acts as a current collector and finally the battery's active material that participates in the electrochemical reactions."
The result? Bigger electrode surface area and an increase in storage capacity. This allows a faster charge/discharge time, and gives up to 10 times increased capacity in comparison to your regular Li-Ion battery.
The usage? Professor Ghodssi provides two examples: the first shows the creation of a very miniscule battey that can be used to power wireless sensors networks. These sensors can monitor homeland security, agriculture, and the surrounding environment. A different proejct that Ghodssi's team is working on, focuses on creating increased-sensitivity explosive detection sensors, by using TMV to bind to TNT. (Author's note: Ironically, those two uses seem quite opposite from each other.)
No tomatoes were harmed in the making of this blog post. However, regular Li-Ion batteries are scared to go out of business: adopt one today (not for free) at ebatts.com.
Source: UMD's press release