Experimental Electrode Designs May Reduce Charging Times From Hours To Minutes


Researchers at Drexel University School of Engineering claim they have created a new highly conductive two dimensional material they call MXene that will permit faster battery charging. Led by professor Yuri Gogotsi, the team says electrodes made from MXene will allow ordinary batteries to charge as fast as supercapacitors but with the energy storage potential of a conventional battery.

MXene battery electrode

“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,” Gogotsi says. “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.”

Put simply, MXene has more places to store electrons than the electrodes in use today. More electron storage equals more electrical energy stored and transmitted. The team has recently published its work in the journal Nature Energy. Working with professors Patrice Simon and Zifeng Lin at the Université Paul Sabatier in France, the team developed a hydrogel electrode with greater volumetric performance, an important measure of a battery’s ability to store energy.

“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,” says Maria Lukatskaya, the lead author on the paper. “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 macro-porous electrode design achieves this goal, which allows for rapid charging — on the order of a few seconds or less.”

The primary advantage of MXene electrodes is their superior conductivity, which is equivalent to metals such as copper and aluminum. MXene was first created in Drexel labs in 2011 and researchers have been exploring its many and varied uses ever since — from energy storage to electromagnetic radiation shielding and water filtration.

“If we start using low dimensional and electronically conducting materials as battery electrodes, we can make batteries working much, much faster than today,” Gogotsi said. “Eventually, appreciation of this fact will lead us to car, laptop and cell-phone batteries capable of charging at much higher rates — seconds or minutes rather than hours.”

Henrik Fisker is also going down a similar path. He says his latest car, the Fisker EMotion, will use a proprietary system that is similar to a supercapacitor that will permit the car to have a 400 mile range and a 9 minute recharge time. Sitting idle waiting for an electric car to charge may be one of the biggest road blocks to mainstream acceptance of EVs.

Even Tesla, which has the largest high power charging network in the world, requires its drivers to wait 30 minutes of more to charge their batteries while travelling away from home. If someone could cut that wait time to a few minutes, the impact on the electric car market would be enormous.

The usual caveats apply. Researchers around the world on working on improvements that will make EV batteries, lighter, more energy dense, and less expensive while slashing charging times. Breakthroughs in battery technology are announced almost daily. But getting new tech out of the lab and into the real world is often fraught with danger.

More startups fail than succeed. So for the moment, this announcement from Drexel must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. But if the promise shown in the Drexel lab can translate to reality? It’s game over for fossil fueled vehicles.

Source and photo credit: Drexel University via Science Daily



About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • kevin mccune

    Let Me put my foot in my mouth, I don’t really take this at face value . Can see an improvement , however beings this is a more or less change in the structure of the substrate (as I see it ) there is going to be drawbacks.For one thing it will take a pretty energetic power supply to boost these batteries that much among other problems. I hope to be proved wrong.

    • Steve Hanley

      I am no scientist nor have I ever played one on TV, so I have to reserve judgment. Like you, I am skeptical, however.

  • Epicurus

    Imagine where we might be today if the government had funded auto battery research after the Arab oil embargo in 1973.

    • Steve Hanley

      Stop making sense! ‘ – )

      • Epicurus

        If only Congress had represented the American people instead of Saudi Arabia and Exxon.

        • Steve Hanley

          The Supreme Court seems to think that is required by the Constitution.

          • Epicurus

            Americans and the mainstream media should be a lot more concerned about the influence of Saudi Arabia and Exxon on our government than about Russia’s.

          • Rick Danger

            You won’t hear about it in the mainstream media, they’re all owned by 5-6 of the world’s largest corporate conglomerates and are useless. If you want to know the truth about what is going on in our own country, as well as the world, you have to find independent media. Fortunately, for now at least, there are several good independent voices on YouTube, which will probably be quashed with the demise of Net Neutrality.

          • Epicurus

            Agree 100%, Rick.

            I get most of my video news from independent media on YouTube. My favs (all progressive sources–real progressive as opposed to fake, neoliberal progressive):

            Democracy Now!

            The Jimmy Dore Show (a comedian who is usually spot on)

            The Humanist Report

            The Real News

            Secular Talk

            The Big Picture (Thom Hartmann on the dreaded RT), and

            The Ring of Fire (hosted by the lawyer who was on Ed Schultz’s old show on MSNBC)

            No doubt the corporate oligarchs who run the country would like to quash all (real) progressive voices. The establishment Democratic Party functions to neutralize progressive voters and progressive policies (as Bill Clinton put it, “Where else are they going to go?”). In other words, the Dem Party is a fifth column.

            YouTube (Google) has already tried to destroy these shows by starving them of ad revenue just a few months ago. They survived only by direct donations from viewers.

          • Rick Danger

            No wonder I upvote so many of your posts 🙂

            Don’t forget Abby Martin (formerly on the dreaded RT, now the host of Empire Files) and Lee Camp (also on the dreaded RT). The Rational National is another up and comer worth watching. Jimmy Dore, The Humanist Report, Secular Talk and Democracy Now are also among my favorites.
            I only recently discovered Abby’s Empire Files, a brilliant show.

            And yes, many/most of these programs have been de-funded by YouTube. I worry about what will happen if Net Neutrality is defeated.

            Jimmy Dore described it perfectly – for over 30 years, we have been the frogs in the pot, not noticing the temperature getting hotter and hotter. Donald Trump came in and cranked the heat to full and now, we are noticing what’s going on.

          • Epicurus

            We must be related. Jimmy Dore is my #1 if I had to choose.

            I was going to mention The Rational National (a new one for me) and Empire Files but I thought my list was already too long. Lee Camp is good. I also like some of the TYT reporters, particularly Jordan Chariton. There are a lot of videos of Noam Chomksy on YouTube from various sources which spring up when you subscribe to these channels, and I have yet to find one that is not well worth watching. Chomsky is truly a mind for the ages.

            Even though I have been disappointed in Democratic politicians for a long time, it was only during the last election that I truly saw the Democratic Party for what it is.

            I have joined both Justice Democrats (to primary neoliberal Democrats) and Draft Bernie for a People’s Party. I am betting you have too.

          • Rick Danger

            Jimmy would be my #1 too if I had to choose.
            Funny, I left out Jordan because of list length too 🙂
            Chomsky is a gift to the world. Even in his 80s nothing gets by him.
            I agree, this last election finally opened my eyes (with the help of everyone named in these lists.

            And yes, you would win that bet 🙂 I respect what the Justice Democrats are trying to do, although I agree with Jimmy Dore that the party is probably beyond redemption and we need a real third party.

          • Epicurus

            BTW, I got banned FOR LIFE from Cleantechnica for posting a link critical of Hillary before the election last year. Neoliberal mofos over there.

          • Rick Danger

            Yeah, I remember when that was going on. What was that mod’s name? Bob something. Anyway, haven’t seen much of him around since the election, but I don’t go there as much as I used to.

          • Epicurus

            A poster on Treehugger told me he had been banned for life for opposing fracking on Cleantechnica. A real “green” site. Good ole Bob.

          • Rick Danger

            Holy crap!

          • Epicurus

            If we truly had free speech and a free marketplace of ideas, Jimmy Dore would have a television show. He beats the shit out of Bill Maher.

            There is plenty of bandwidth available on the cable networks for a number of the progressive shows currently on YouTube, but of course these networks are owned by the oligarchs who don’t want us to see these shows.

          • Rick Danger

            Yes, sadly, Bill Maher has become a corporate lackey and a Hillery mouthpiece. I said goodbye to him the night he started arguing with Cornel West about Hillery. I have given up on all the corporate late night hosts (although Trevor Noah’s “Covfefe” short was brilliant – “I must S W I M!” :D).

            If I had found all these shows before the election, I would have voted for Jill Stein and at least felt good about myself. I was one of those who felt forced to vote for Hillery, and even as I watched in horror at Trump winning the Electoral College, I can’t say I was sorry that Hillery lost.
            Jimmy Dore makes the point that, bad as Trump is, it’s better than Hillery winning; Everyone hates Trump, he will tank the Republican party, and the Democratic party showed its ass for all to see. Many people are now awake to what a sham our political process has become – now we can raise our voices and maybe have a chance to repair it. I really think Bernie should start a third party and leave the Democrats to drown in their own excrement.

          • Epicurus

            We must be clones. Maher’s argument with Cornel West, who I greatly admire, was the breaking point for me too, and I did exactly the same thing in the election–voted for Hillary–and had exactly the same regrets. I will never vote for another neoliberal Democrat again. Ever.

            I have exactly the same opinion of the Dem Party as you do. I refer to it as a fifth column to neutralize progressives. It’s totally corrupt. I will support progressives who run as Dems in selected races, especially those who run to primary establishment Democrats.

            I am happy Trump beat Hillary. People will see plainly where the Republican Party will take the country and most people will turn against it (I estimate 30% of the voters are right-wing nutjobs and will never change but 70% will support true progressive policies).

          • Epicurus

            Check out videos with economists Mark Blyth and Richard Wolff too (you probably already have but perhaps Steve or other readers haven’t).

            Both are on my proposed People’s Council of Economic Advisers.

          • Steve Hanley

            Wow, guys. I think of myself as well informed but know nothing of these YouTube gurus you refer to. Gotta check that out.

            The Democrats have a golden, once in a century opportunity to do something magnificent but they cannot stop bickering about who is responsible for the loss of the 2016 election.

            Being against something is not going to get it done in 2018 or 2020. They have to be FOR something and enunciate their policies clearly.

            If things remain as they are, #TraitorTrump will get to put 2 or 3 more far right wing lunatics on the Supreme Court, and then the crazies will own all three branches of government.

            Many more people are interested in running for office than ever before, but the Dems seem to have no place for them. Our country is in desperate trouble and the Dems are offering no answers. Hugely disappointing.

          • Epicurus

            Great minds . . .

            www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=3J2C-U8KtuE

          • Epicurus

            Start off looking at the first four shows I listed above.

  • I hate a full third of the commenters, but what are ya gonna do?