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Infrastructure, Media, Relations, Sciences

Korean boffins discover secret to quick-charge batteries

By Phil Muncaster • Get more from this author

Posted in Science15th August 2012 04:13 GMT

South Korean boffins say they have found a way to cut battery charging times for electric cars from hours down to just minutes.

The discovery changes the way materials used in regular batteries are treated, according to aYonhapreport.

The report says researchers placed battery ingredients in a solution containing graphite which was later carbonised “to form a dense network of conductors throughout the electrodes of the battery”.

This means that the energy-holding particles of the battery begin re-charging at the same time. With traditional batteries these particles apparently only charge from the outside-in.

The end result of all of this particulate boffinry is that the resulting batteries can be recharged in anything between 1/30 and 1/120 of the time taken to re-energise conventional rechargeable batteries.

“The research is especially remarkable in that it overcame limitations of existing lithium-ion batteries,” said Cho Jae-phil, a professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.

“We will further move closer to developing a new secondary battery for electric cars that can be fully recharged in less than a minute.”

It will certainly take more than cutting charge times to make electric vehicles more popular throughout the world, with cost one of the biggest barriers at present.

New research from McKinsey & Co, for example, argues that only if manufacturers can acquire batteries for less than $250 per kWh will electric cars be offered at competitive prices. At present the price is more like $500 per kWh, it said.

The South Korean research, entitled Carbon-Coated Single-Crystal LiMn2O4 Nanoparticle Clusters as Cathode Material for High-Energy and High-Power Lithium-Ion Batteries, can be found here. ®

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