Researchers from Rice University have concluded that standard Lithium batteries (which we use in everything from our phones to our toothbrushes) can be made to charge 10-20 times faster by using Asphalt. Their method, which involved using carbon derived from asphalt and then mixing it with graphene nanoribbons before finally coating with lithium, has been tested and has been proven to lead to huge decreases in charging times, according to scientific research journal ACS Nano. This could be the next breakthrough in battery technology.
Battery technology and the limitations that current Lithium batteries place upon modern technology has been a hot topic over the past few years. Consumer demand has, obviously, been for larger-capacity batteries that last for longer – which presented the problem of charging times. And while manufacturers and companies like Samsung and Qualcomm may have tried to tackle that with various types of fast charging technology, the drawback was the impact it has on the longevity of our batteries. Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco is a perfect reminder of the dangers of trying to push existing battery technology too far. The tech world is echoing the same sentiment – batteries need to change. And this asphalt manufacturing method may be the way forward.
Professor James Tour, who is leading the project, stated that these insane prototype fast-charging batteries have been put through a rigorous regime if hundreds of charging and discharging cycles to ensure that the batteries are stable and safe (and we don't have a repeat of the Note 7 fiasco). Furthermore, they are less likely to suffer from the buildup of lithium dendrites– the structures that spread through a battery over time, wearing it down and reducing its capacity.
This group would become one of many who are currently experimenting with fast charging battery technology. Qualcomm, Tesla, StoreDot and many others are all on each other's tails in this so-called "battery race", and rightly so; technology like this could incite a complete paradigm shift in our everyday tech items. Whether it be electric cars or phones with lifetime batteries, I'm sure we can all look forward to a future where needing to having a charger at arm's length is a thing of the past.
What do you guys think? Are you sceptical of these findings and think that physics will get in the way of any real implementation of such technology? Or do you think asphalt batteries are the future? Let us know what you think in the comments, or post in our forums.