3-D Lithium Ion Batteries More Efficient

Scientists from Colorado State University presented their prototype design for a new, lithium-ion battery that features a three dimensional interior architecture at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in late March.

Researches claim the 3-D lithium-ion battery can be recharged in minutes instead of the typical hours it takes to charge standard lithium batteries currently being used in electric cars and several other devices across the nation. The leader of the scientific team, Amy Preito, stated the group currently has a working prototype that is about the size of a cell-phone battery, and that it can be charged in roughly 12 minutes compared to the two hours it would take a comparable battery.

Image via Fraunhofer ITWM

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are composed of a graphite anode, a lithium cathode, and an electrolyte that separates the electrodes; the electrodes are stacked in multiple layers and lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode during discharges. This system tends to overheat, however, and so Preito and her team replaced the graphite anode with copper antimonide nanowires which are more heat resistant and can store twice as many lithium ions.

By binding the nanowires like that of a hair-brush bristle and coating them in an electrolyte, the scientists hope to see lithium-ion batteries with a longer-life and shorter charge time, which could mean big business for car manufactures looking to remove the consumer annoyance of having to take hours to charge an electric vehicle. The discovery of this new technology comes just after researchers in Germany developed a computer simulation model for lithium-ion battery, and together advancements of this kind are propelling technology into exciting new areas.

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Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.