Friday, October 17, 2014

Titanium-based batteries the next big thing?

LONDON (MINEWEB) - In what could be a game-changer in battery development, with a potentially enormous impact on the market for electric powered motor vehicles, scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU) have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70% in only two minutes. What’s more, the university claims that these new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years - more than ten times that of existing lithium-ion batteries.
In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from readily available titanium dioxide which is mostly used in pigments and sunscreen lotions.

The NTU team has found a way to transform the titanium dioxide into tiny nanotubes, which are a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. This speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for superfast charging.
An NTU media release notes that according to Frost & Sullivan, a leading growth-consulting firm, the global market for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is projected to be worth US$23.4 billion in 2016.
Prof Chen’s new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes can pack more energy into the same amount of space.

Manufacturing this new nanotube gel is claimed to be very easy. Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are mixed together and stirred under a certain temperature ... so battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate the new gel into their current production processes.

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