New Batteries Provide Shorter Recharge Times

Wednesday - 7/21/2010, 2:33pm EDT

New battery materials developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Lab and a Maryland company could enable electric vehicles, power tools and even cell phones to recharge in minutes rather than hours.

In collaboration with a Princeton University researcher, the Lab has demonstrated that small quantities of graphene - an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms - can dramatically improve the power and stability of lithium-ion batteries, while maintaining high energy storage capacity. The pioneering work could lead to the development of batteries that store larger amounts of energy and recharge quickly.

Today, a typical cell phone battery takes between two and five hours to fully recharge. Researchers think using new battery materials with graphene could cut recharge time to less than 10 minutes.