Researchers in Japan have announced they have developed a longer-lasting, safer, faster charging battery that also costs less than a regular lithium-ion battery. The new battery, created by a start-up company in Japan, employs carbon for both the anode and the cathode poles.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in smartphones, flashlights and electric cars. But this new battery, says the Power Japan Plus company, can be discharged thousands of times without diminishing its capacity, can generate more power and can be recharged about 20 times as fast as standard lithium-ion versions. The company said its battery is rated for more than 3,000 recharge cycles, and promoted the idea that its product could operate over years in harsh environments, such as inside medical devices or in space.
Dou Kani, CEO of Power Japan Plus, said in a statement that his company "is a materials engineer for a new class of carbon material that balances economics, performance and sustainability." He added that the product, called the Ryden dual carbon battery, "is the energy storage breakthrough needed to bring green technology like electric vehicles to mass market."
Such a battery could dramatically change the charging calculations of, say, a Tesla car, which has a large lithium-ion battery pack. On its Web site, Power Japan Plus said its battery could enable a 300-mile range electric vehicle on one charge. Additionally, the company said that regenerative braking, which recaptures energy, would be more efficient in cars using its technology.
In a battery, the electrolyte between the anode and the cathode conducts ions that generate electrons, and thus electricity. The new version could be safer because it doesn't use lithium oxide, which is flammable. Punctured lithium-ion batteries can readily catch fire.
Power Japan Plus has altered the structure of carbon fiber in cotton to create what the company described as "unique properties." In addition, its Ryden dual carbon battery uses an organic electrolyte.
Later this year, the company will start benchmark production at its production facility in Okinawa to meet the demand for such specialty markets as medical devices and satellites. The company intends to produce its batteries under a licensing business model.
The new battery is the latest in a series of announcements relating to new technologies in this field. A year ago, for instance, a team from the University of Illinois/Champaign said they had conceived of a micro-battery that could charge a thousand times faster than current batteries, in a blink of an eye, and which, if used in a smartphone, could jump-start a car's dead battery.
Late last year, researchers from Stanford University and the U.S. Department of Energy published a paper describing the use of a silicon electrode in a lithium-ion battery, along with a synthetic polymer. The resulting product, they said, was a self-healing battery that could last 10 times longer than normal.