In the very near future, we may see batteries that can recharge in just three seconds. Researchers at MIT (where else?) have discovered a method of recharging lithium ion batteries at greatly increased speeds. The best news is that their method uses common materials and therefore could hit the marketplace in as little as two years.
Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts sped up the process in which lithium ions are torn from the cathode compound and sent back to their anode store. In plain English: Kang and Ceder essentially changed the structure of everyday lithium ion batteries by building nanoparticle clumps and mixing the ordinary concoction with carbon and other materials.
The practical uses of this new battery recharging system are widespread, as lithium ion batteries already are widely used. Electric cars, cell phones, laptops, portable gaming systems -- you name it; it's likely the device sports a lithium ion battery.
Kang and Ceder are most excited about the innovation their discovery will bring to the electric car. "The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," the team writes in their Nature paper.
With the world steadily going green, advancements in the practicality of an electric car and its ability to recharge speedily could alter the roads of the world and hugely impact the environment. That's all fine and well. But c'mon -- we're mostly excited about souping up our iPhones in the time it takes to exhale.