The lithium battery that allows you to charge an electric car in just 10 minutes

The trick is to increase the temperature at which the battery reaction is carried out, but in short cycles.

The lithium battery that allows you to charge an electric car in just 10 minutes Photo: Eduardo Arcos
At a time when the world population seems to be more aware of the dangers of climate change, many people strive to find ways to move cleaner for the environment. Walking, cycling or using public transport are some of the most common options, but more and more individuals prefer to invest in an electric car. The future seems to be there, in companies like Tesla, whose vehicles would not appear even in the best of Marty McFly’s dreams. However, they still have a small drawback: the charging time.

There are “supercharging” stations, in which a faster charging of the batteries is facilitated, but even there the time usually ranges between 45 and 50 minutes. That means having to plan the trips even more, taking into account the delay that this may entail. Therefore, the conclusions of a study published recently in Joule magazine, by a team of scientists from Penn State University, are great news for lovers of electric automotive. And, thanks to a change in the temperature to which the batteries are exposed, they have managed to charge them in a whopping 10 minutes.

Superchargers

One of the strategies used in chemistry to accelerate the speed of a reaction is to increase the temperature at which the components involved in it are found.

The temperature increase is one of the most used strategies in chemistry to increase the speed of a reaction
The operation of a battery is based precisely on chemical reactions, so heating is usually one of the most common techniques to charge faster. Unfortunately, this method also has its negative side, since it facilitates some of the elements present in it to break down early. Therefore, a balance is sought that allows its load, but without diminishing its durability and for this, until now, it was impossible to resort to very high temperatures.

However, the authors of this new study have discovered that applying this heating in short cycles can provide the advantages of charging, without affecting the battery components. To do this, they added a nickel plate to the battery that preheats it in less than 30 seconds, so that the subsequent discharge can already occur cold. During several test cycles, after those that opened the battery and analyzed the state of its components, they verified that the optimum temperature was 60 ° C, because if it was reached up to it the charge would be achieved in 10 minutes and, on the other hand, it was not it practically affected stability, so that at least 1,700 more cycles were obtained. In addition, 320 kilometers of autonomy were added, compared to conventional lithium batteries.

In short, it would only take 10 minutes to charge the car, which would have 320 kilometers more than normal before having to stop again and, in addition, could repeat the procedure at least 1,700 times without changing the battery. Sounds great, but these researchers are not satisfied with that, so they have announced that they want to further optimize the procedure, to reduce the loading time to only 5 minutes. That is the future.

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