New battery technology would triple the range of electric cars
"if you thought about this in terms of automotive applications, in principle, then you could drive your car almost three times further as an existing battery. So the performance is encouraging."
- engineering professor Grant Norton
Washington State University researchers have developed a new technology that could triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, which as anyone who owns a cell phone or laptop knows, can be frustratingly limiting. Led by Grant Norton, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the researchers have filed patents on the nanoscale-based technology, which also allows the batteries to re-charge many more times and more quickly than current models. They expect to bring it to the market within a year.
The researchers developed a method for growing tin nanoneedles directly onto copper foil using a standard electroplating process that is commonly used in industry. Electroplating means the tin-based anode costs less than regular graphite anodes with triple the energy storage capacity. The end product battery will look exactly the same as the current batteries, so that manufacturers don’t have to redesign their electronic devices to make room for a new battery.