A group of researchers from Cornell University, New York, has created a new lithium battery for electric cars that can charge in less than 5 minutesfaster than any other battery available on the market and maintaining stable performance throughout the charge and discharge cycles. This advance could provide a boost for the implementation of the electric car and eliminate what the authors of the research call the “autonomy anxiety”. That is, the one generated by having to make long trips that involve long stops while the battery is recharged.
“Range anxiety is a bigger barrier to electrification in transportation than any other, such as cost and battery capacity, and we have identified a path to eliminate it through rational electrode designs. If you can charge an electric vehicle battery in five minutes, I mean, wow, you don’t need to have a battery big enough for a 300 mile range. “You can settle for less, which could reduce the cost of electric vehicles, allowing for broader adoption,” he explained. Lynden Archerprofessor and dean of engineering at Cornell who has led the research team, in a statement.
2035, deadline for gasoline and diesel cars in the EU
Despite the European Union’s intention to put an end to diesel and gasoline cars, the implementation of electric cars is still limited. In Spain, only the 4.7% of the cars sold in 2023 were electric, according to ACEA data. And with an eye on 2035, year for which the EU first decided ban the sale of cars with combustion engines and then exclude those that use synthetic fuelsit is clear that the electric car has a long way to go that it may not have time for. The shortage of operational charging points and the time required to recharge The battery are, along with the price, the main obstacles that must be overcome.
This technology, along with wireless induction charging, could reduce the size and cost of batteries and, therefore, that of electric vehicles, making them a more viable option for many drivers. However, and although the investigation by Archer’s team It is a significant advance, it is not definitive.
The Indian problem
The key to this new battery is in the use of Indian. This is a chemical element which is used to manufacture indium oxide coatings and tin in solar panels and touch screens. The researchers found that this soft metal has fast energy transport rates thanks to two characteristics: a very low migration energy barrier and a good exchange current density that allow fast charging and long-term storage.
“The key to innovation is that we have discovered a design principle which allows the metal ions in a battery anode to move freely, find the correct configuration and only then participate in the charge storage reaction. The end result is that in each charging cycle, the electrode is in a stable morphological state. This is precisely what gives our new fast-charging batteries the ability to charge and discharge repeatedly over thousands of cycles,” says Archer.
However, Indian has a problem that makes it not so suitable for manufacturing batteries: It is too heavy metal. So the Archer team continues to investigate in search of other lightweight materials that offer the same advantages as indium.
“Therein lies an opportunity for computational modeling of chemistryperhaps using tools generative artificial intelligence, to learn what other lightweight material chemistries could achieve the same intrinsically low Damköhler numbers (a value that relates the reaction rate to the transport rate in a chemical phenomenon) of indium. For example, are there metal alloys that we have never studied that have the desired characteristics? That’s where my satisfaction comes from, which There is a general principle at play that allows anyone to design a better battery anode that achieves faster charging rates than state-of-the-art technology.”Archer assures.
Perhaps electric cars that can charge their batteries quickly and thus eliminate one of their biggest current disadvantages are not so far away.