The freedom to hold computers in our hands, pop wireless headphones in our ears and pilot drones through our backyards is all brought to us by batteries — especially rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Most batteries take hours to be fully charged, but soon we may not have to wait quite as long.

SINGAPORE: Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in two minutes, and have a lifespan of more than 20 years – 10 times more than existing lithium-ion batteries.

The batteries will have a “wide-ranging impact” on all industries, especially for electric vehicles, where consumers are put off by long recharge times and limited battery life, said NTU in a media release issued on Monday (Oct 13).

“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” said Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Currently, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – commonly used in mobile phones, tablets and in electric vehicles – usually last about 500 recharge cycles. This is equivalent to two to three years of typical use, with each cycle taking about two hours for the battery to be fully charged.

In the new battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide – commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays.

The technology is currently licensed by a company for eventual production. Assoc Prof Chen said he expects the batteries to hit the market within the next two years.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia