Is it possible to charge an electric car in 10 minutes?

One of the crucial factors when analyzing an electric vehicle is the how quickly your battery can be recharged, since it will be decisive to glimpse what its future may be in the face of mass adoption. Typically, this speed is associated with a specific point on the charging curve that goes from 0% to 80% of the battery's capacity. A latest investigation in this field published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals an interesting development that challenges the traditional limitations of Kirchhoff's law, first described in 1846.

Chemical engineering applied to energy storage

The researchers in the lab of Ankur Gupta, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, have discovered something that could be a revolution not only for storing energy in vehicles and electronic devices, but for electrical grids. “Given the fundamental role of energy in the future of the planet, I was inspired to apply my chemical engineering knowledge to the advancement of energy storage devices“Gupta said in the statement regarding its discovery. “It seemed to me that the topic was somewhat underexplored and, as such, it was the perfect opportunity.”

According to the professor, there are several chemical engineering techniques that are already used to study flow in porous materials, such as oil reservoirs and water filtration, but they have not been fully used so far in some energy storage systems.

A revolutionary breakthrough

This research work aims not only to achieve very fast vehicle or device charging processes, but also to offer more storage in the electrical energy networks both to avoid wasting it in periods of lower demand and to guarantee the supply at times. of greater requirement.

“The main attraction of supercapacitors is their speed,” said Gupta of these energy storage devices that depend on the accumulation of ions in their pores. “So, how can we accelerate the charging and release of energy?” the professor and his team asked. more efficient movement of ions“.

This finding modifies Kirchhoff's law, a staple in high school science classes since the mid-19th century. This law establishes two crucial principles for the theory of electrical circuits. The first, known as the Kirchhoff's current law, states that the algebraic sum of the currents entering and leaving a node in a circuit is equal to zero. The second, the Kirchhoff's stress law, dictates that the algebraic sum of the potential differences (voltages) in any closed loop of a circuit is equal to zero. These principles are applicable to both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) circuits.

According to this recent research, The behavior of ions, unlike electrons, does not conform to these classical laws when moving through pore intersections in a complex network. Unlike electrons, which follow established Kirchhoff laws, ions move due to electric fields and diffusion, behaving differently at pore intersections. Until now, the scientific literature described the movement of ions in a limited way, focused on individual, straight pores. This new study has gone further to simulate and predict ionic movement in an intricate network composed of thousands of interconnected pores. And all in a matter of minutes.

“This is the breakthrough of the work,” says Gupta, one of the principal researchers. “We have found the missing link.“This finding promises to revolutionize the way we understand the physics of electrical circuits to offer new insights on the behavior of ions in complex networks and open the door to technological innovations in multiple fields.