New super battery charges in 3 minutes

New super battery charges in 3 minutes
New super battery charges in 3 minutes

A battery that lasts at least 20 years and is charged in a few minutes.

That could be within reach for electric drivers in the foreseeable future.

At least, if we are to believe a group of Harvard researchers who developed a so-called lithium metal battery. The invention was recently given the go-ahead for mass production by technology company Adden Energy, Inc.

Big surprises in the lab

It is a solid state battery that has an electrolyte in solid form instead of a liquid electrolyte. And according to the researchers, this gives you a longer lifespan and shorter charging time.

In the lab, the small prototype has been charged and discharged up to 10,000 times – so-called charge cycles. And that’s a significant improvement, because the best batteries on the market now degrade visibly after 2000 to 3000 charge cycles.

Furthermore, the researchers managed to charge the prototype in just 3 minutes, which is also a huge improvement: current electric cars have to be connected to a good charging station for at least 30 minutes before they are 80 percent charged.

However, this does not mean that you will be able to charge your electric car in a few minutes in a few years. So says Søren W. Rasmussen, jury member of the European Car of the Year and car editor at FDM, the Danish equivalent of the ANWB.

‘It might be feasible to make a battery that can do that. But we don’t expect to be able to set up an infrastructure in the coming years that will allow us to move so much energy in such a short time,’ he says.

He also understands why the researchers are enthusiastic about the high number of charge cycles of 10,000. But he doesn’t think it will have much practical impact on the road, because today’s batteries are already so good that most will last as long as the car itself.

‘An average electric driver will have to charge his car just over 100 times in a year. So you will never reach 10,000 charges during the life of the car. So these are impressive numbers, but in practice they are of no use,’ says Rasmussen.

Potential game changer

Part of the secret behind the new battery is that it is a so-called lithium metal battery, and not a traditional lithium-ion battery that is now found in most electric cars. This means that the battery can contain much more energy in the same space.

But lithium metal batteries also have a built-in Achilles heel. They are particularly vulnerable to the formation of small, woody metallic structures called dendrites, which grow in the battery over time and can penetrate and destroy the electrolyte.

The article is in Dutch

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