Researchers at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins have discovered a potential breakthrough in battery technology. Amy Prieto, assistant professor in the chemistry department, and colleagues are developing a lightweight lithium-ion battery characterized by an unprecedented power density that’s capable of charging and discharging power rapidly over an extended lifetime while exhibiting low capacity loss over thousands of cycles. The battery will need only a few minutes to charge/discharge completely, and these performance advantages will not decrease over repeated charge/discharge cycles.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in a variety of consumer electronics, such as laptops, communications, and audio/video devices; industrial applications for the military, health care, and cordless tool manufacturers; and high-powered applications within the automotive, aerospace, defense, and renewable energy sectors. The global market, currently estimated to be $7 billion, is expected to surpass $10 billion within three to four years. The automotive market alone is projected to exceed $4 billion by 2015, when more than one million plug-in electric hybrid vehicles are expected to be on the road.
To achieve critical requirements in lithium battery performance, Prieto’s team designed a battery that addresses the slow movement of lithium ions into and between the anode and cathode. The design — which incorporates nanowires fabricated through a patent-pending process — results in a three-dimensional lithium-ion battery with a theoretical power density that is up to one million times greater than comparable batteries now in use. As a result of its nano-architecture, the new battery is expected to produce performance gains that will greatly extend the application space and market. The battery technology and design also lend themselves to low-cost manufacturing and production scale-up, according to the university. Prieto’s team is working with the Clean Energy Supercluster and its business arm, Cenergy, as well as the Colorado State University Research Foundation to commercialize the technology.

(Source: Article by David  Schwartz)

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