Researchers find a new way to charge batteries just in a matter of minutes

Fast-charging batteries

As technology firms scramble to develop long-lasting powering devices, a team of researchers, including one of the Indian origin, has discovered a new method to build better performing Lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged in a matter of minutes.

The new research has the potential to improve battery performance for consumer electronics, solar grid storage, and electric vehicles, said the team from New York-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the journal Nature Communications.

A lithium-ion battery charges and discharges as lithium ions move between two electrodes, called anode and cathode. In a traditional lithium-ion battery, the anode is made of graphite and the cathode of lithium cobalt oxide.

“The way to make batteries better is to improve the materials used for electrodes,” said Nikhil Koratkar, professor of mechanical, aerospace and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer.

Koratkar and his team improved performance of lithium-ion battery by substituting cobalt oxide with vanadium disulfide (VS2). “It gives you higher energy density, because it’s light and faster charging capability, because it’s highly conductive,” said Koratkar.

Excitement surrounding the potential of VS2 has been growing in recent years, but, until now, Koratkar said, researchers had been challenged by its instability — a characteristic that would lead to short battery life.

The Rensselaer researchers have not only found the reason behind the instability but also developed a new way to combat it. Koratkar sees multiple applications for this discovery in improving car batteries, power for portable electronics, and solar energy storage where high capacity is important, but increased charging speed would also be attractive.