Battery charges in seconds

July 11, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
Researchers in France, Israel and the US have developed a battery that can be charged in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

The team, led by Prof Yury Gogotsi at the Drexel College of Engineering in the US created a new electrode design from a highly conductive, two-dimensional material called MXene.

Patrice Simon and Zifeng Lin from Université Paul Sabatier in France, produced a hydrogel electrode design with more redox active sites, which allows it to store as much charge for its volume as a battery. Researchers at Drexel then designed electrode architectures with multiple small openings to make each redox active sites in the MXene material readily accessible to ions. Mikhael Levi and Netanel Shpigel from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, helped the Drexel group maximize the number of the ports accessible to ions in MXene electrodes.

This produced a fast charging battery similar in performance to a supercapacitor.

"In traditional batteries and supercapacitors, ions have a tortuous path toward charge storage ports, which not only slows down everything, but it also creates a situation where very few ions actually reach their destination at fast charging rates," said Drexel researcher Maria Lukatskaya from the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute. "The ideal electrode architecture would be something like ions moving to the ports via multi-lane, high-speed 'highways,' instead of taking single-lane roads. Our macroporous electrode design achieves this goal, which allows for rapid charging -- on the order of a few seconds or less."

"This paper refutes the widely accepted dogma that chemical charge storage, used in batteries and pseudocapacitors, is always much slower than physical storage used in electrical double-layer capacitors, also known as supercapacitors," said Gogotsi. "We demonstrate charging of thin MXene electrodes in tens of milliseconds. This is enabled by very high electronic conductivity of MXene. This paves the way to development of ultrafast energy storage devices than can be charged and discharged within seconds, but store much more energy than conventional supercapacitors."

MXene was developed at Drexel in 2011 and has been tested in a variety of applications from energy storage to