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Dead Battery? These Babies Come to Life with a Jolt

NTU's Prof. Chen with the ultrafast charging batteries he and his team developed in Singapore
NTU’s Prof. Chen with the ultrafast charging batteries he and his team developed in Singapore

One of the biggest peeves of our modern life is having the battery die on you.  Whether it be while you’re making an important call, or about to send that text, or when you’re about to finish a game level, or even when you’re driving your car.  The first three situations could be solved with by simply plugging in your device into an outlet, but if your car batteries die on you, you have to wait some time before you can resume your life.

That is unless you have these new batteries developed by scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  These batteries can get a 70% charge in as little as 2 minutes.  What’s more, is that they can last as long as 20 years, which is great news for EVs.

The change has been in one of the battery electrodes in the standard lithium-ion battery.  Instead of using graphite for the anode, the researchers used a titanium dioxide gel made from material that is commonly used in food additives and in sun screen.  The particles where shaped into tiny nanotubes so that instead of blocking the sun’s rays, the structure instead speeds ups chemical reactions that are needed when storing energy in the battery. As a result, it is now possible to charge an EV’s batteries in as little as 15 minutes.

What’s better is that we are going to see this new kind of battery very soon, faster than you can say titanium dioxide nanotube gel.  A large-scale prototype of the battery is being made.  Furthermore, a company has licensed the technology and is expected to sell the new batteries within two years.  Maybe even sooner, all that battery manufacturers need to do is to swap the graphite anode traditionally used with the titanium dioxide gel. This nanotube gel is obtained by simply mixing titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide at a certain temperature and “Battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate our new gel into their current production processes,” according to Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong who developed the battery.

This shocking news may just be the jolt that could drive away our battery woes.

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