A titanium dioxide, Lithium-ion battery capable of charging super quickly to 70 percent in only two minutes, is being developed at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The new soil based Lithium ion battery will last for 20 years, almost ten times longer than the current graphite batteries. It will be cheaper and easier to make, since titanium dioxide is an abundant soil compound, which is also commonly used as a food supplement.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in several devices and equipment ranging from phones, tablets and laptops to electric vehicles and military applications. With Li-Ion technology being one of the popular battery technologies, researchers are continuously looking for ways to improve the performance and lifespan to meet the power demands of most of the applications. Most of these use the common graphite for the lithium-ion batteries anode, and the new development makes use of an economical titanium dioxide gel, similar to the kind used in sunscreen to take in UV rays.
The Singaporean scientists discovered a way of transforming the titanium dioxide compounds into nanotubes with super charging properties. These nanotubes are more than a thousand times refined than a human hair strand, and have in and out transfer speeds like those of electrons and ions, hence the super-speed capability.
The titanium dioxide materials are able to transform their structure to perform better. This allows the nanotubes to switch their phase and boost their operational capacity as the battery is cycled. This quality enables new batteries to even charge up to 50 percent capacity in only 30 seconds. As the battery goes through the charge and discharge cycles, the titanium nanotubes orient their internal structure in a way that improves the battery performance.
The graphite anode lithium-ion batteries typically lasts for about 500 recharging cycles, which ranges between two and three years. Charging today’s batteries takes anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours depending on application, capacity and the discharge level. On the other hand, the new battery can reach 10,000 charging cycles, each taking only a few minutes. It also has a better lifespan which may go up to 20 years.
This technology will enable electric vehicles to reduce their charging time to as low of 5 minutes for a full charge. The longer life means that the rechargeable electric car battery can last the full life time of the car without a replacement.
The Titanium dioxide batteries are more environmentally friendly, reliable and much safer as compared to the graphite anode Lithium batteries. The graphite anodes may experience lithium solution deposits which can cause thermal runaway, which is a dangerous chain reaction. But this does not happen in the new batteries using the Titanium peroxide nanotubes.
There is still room for improvement and the battery will probably hit the market in the next two years.