September 13, 2011
Lithium Titanium Battery Offers Fast Charge

Electric vehicles need better (cheaper, higher energy density, faster charging) batteries to take off. A lithium titanium dioxide design might solve at least the charge time problem. 50% charged in 6 minutes and expected to be long-lasting.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 8, 2011 -- Batteries could get a boost from an Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovery that increases power, energy density and safety while dramatically reducing charge time.

A team led by Hansan Liu, Gilbert Brown and Parans Paranthaman of the Department of Energy lab's Chemical Sciences Division found that titanium dioxide creates a highly desirable material that increases surface area and features a fast charge-discharge capability for lithium ion batteries. Compared to conventional technologies, the differences in charge time and capacity are striking.

"We can charge our battery to 50 percent of full capacity in six minutes while the traditional graphite-based lithium ion battery would be just 10 percent charged at the same current," Liu said.

Compared to commercial lithium titanate material, the ORNL compound also boasts a higher capacity 256 vs. 165 milliampere hour per gram and a sloping discharge voltage that is good for controlling state of charge. This characteristic combined with the fact oxide materials are extremely safe and long-lasting alternatives to commercial graphite make it well-suited for hybrid electric vehicles and other high-power applications.

Fast charging would make trips in electric cars more practical.

It has a complex production process and it is not clear whether it will turn out to be scalable.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 September 13 07:38 AM  Energy Batteries

Fat Man said at September 13, 2011 8:55 PM:

This won't make any difference for car batteries. The gating issue for high capacity batteries is how much of a pipe you have from the grid, and whether you can remove heat quickly enough.

A regular US home circuit carries 120volts at 15 amps. It can move 1.8 KWh. If you get 5 mi. per KWh, that means you are charging at the rate of 9 mph. To get a 100 mi radius, you need to charge at that rate for 11 hour+.

A "dryer" circuit is 240V @ 30 Amps. 7.2 KWh, or 36 mph. 3hrs of charging for a 100 mi range.

I saw one proposal for a fast charger that used a 240 V line at 200 Amps. That is like major whole house service. You can get your 100 mi. in a half hour. Please use safety goggles, gloves and shoes, make sure you are properly insulated, and keep pets and children away.

Brett Bellmore said at September 14, 2011 3:51 AM:

Of course, the serious concern is that, while individual houses may typically have 200 or 300 amp service, the lines feeding the houses are sized on the assumption that they'll never all be drawing that at one time. All you'd need is three or four people trying to charge their cars at the same time at 200 amps, on the same block, for the grid to fail locally. That, or the super chargers need to coordinate between each other to avoid crashing the grid. In which case, your car might be able to charge in a half hour, but you'd never know which half hour would be available to you.

I still think that, ultimately, the solution is going to be standardized battery packs designed for ultra-quick swaps. Let the 'gas station' situated next to a sub-station deal with charging them, if you're in a hurry, and be content with a trickle charge when it's parked at home.

Sean Neves said at September 14, 2011 11:46 AM:

I think everybody is missing the point. At home, a smaller service is needed, with a nice slow charge over night. On the road, charge times would be cut by 400%. Think "Gas Station". This would be huge. Unfortunately, along with the fifty other lithium advancements that are announced every week that never come to market.

John Sullivan said at September 14, 2011 12:43 PM:

In fact this kind of advancement could be significant. Most demand for EVs for a time to come will be in very urban and moderately urban environments. Giving options to owners besides the overnight charge will offer all kinds of flexibility. Imagine, for example, a stop en route to wherever at the local Starbucks where in minutes you've caffeinated yourself and charged your EV to a significant degree. Or at the end of the day at your local pub...., etc. Anything that prevents having to make a near beeline to work and home will be valuable (read: worth paying for).

Reducing the package size/weight has great benefits too, if real.

imfine said at September 14, 2011 3:03 PM:

You have gas stations, what not power stations? You could probably speed up charging via lots of smaller format batteries and a receiver under the car and transmit the power via directed narrow band radio frequencies. Now all you need is a power source like natural gas, at the station several generators and a capacitors. Charging at home is an absurd pipe dream meant to speed adoption to early adopters and wasteful government programs. its not practical now or ever on mass. In NYC, I could see this kind of EV infrastructure working, since we have a natural gas grid thats pretty extensive, but you need the cards first before anyone will invest. I personally think its probably a better use of time to work on making hybrids more efficient. There is too much power lost in chemical batteries to make up for transition from gas to pure electric

JeffC said at September 14, 2011 6:56 PM:

The "solution" is the ICE ... with gasoline ... "recharge" for 300 plus miles in 5 minutes ...

anonyq said at September 14, 2011 7:51 PM:


ICE will be illegal within urban areas


Slow, at home charging, is very cheap to implement and has a major advantage with the low electricity cost it creates.

batman said at September 14, 2011 8:01 PM:

Right On JeffC! Octane. C-8 H-18. We've been a hydrogen based economy all along! The safest, easiest way to bind 18 hydrogens just happens to be with 8 carbons. All things left the same as today: Commuting profiles, and all of todays gasoline powered machines were replaced with the doubly more efficient electric counterparts: vehicles that have the regenerative braking systems, that we have the same safety, same vehicle weight, that we solved the battery charge problem to the same as filling a gasoline tank, and that the current transportation profiles remain unchanged, we'd still need QUAD the current nameplate generating capacity of this nation from .8TW to about 3.2TW. When we were at peak manufacturing here in the U.S., our nameplate generating capacity was almost 1TW. But, because of the out of control EPA, staffed by the "new" scientists: political scientists; And the declared evils of coal and manufacturing, we've so far been able to meet the "clean air goals" by off-shoring all of our jobs and closing the now unnecessary, coal generating power plants. Change you can believe in.. So, since carbon is so evil as the Nobel laureate Goracle says it is, then we'd have to go nuke. If the average nuclear plant is 1.2GW capacity, then we'd only need 40 of these new nuclear power plants per EACH STATE of this nation, just to make up the 2.4TW capacity we'd need to keep the ground transportation system running as it is presently. Duh! The answer: Since the fraud of the Nobel laureate has been exposed: Drill here, drill now, dig here, dig now. A third world country is one which exports raw materials and imports finished good. A first world country does the converse. 40 years ago, when this great nation was still a first world nation (Now officially a 3rd world country), the Great State of Illinois (now a major source of The Problem) alone had proven coal reserves for 500 years when this nation was at peak steel manufacturing. Since we no longer make steel (or much of anything else, for that matter) here anymore, imagine how much electricity could be made with just that resource) Imagine what the impact would be on the nations gross domestic product as the inexpensiveness of this abundant energy would attract other enterprises back to our shores. Imagine also how much energy could be saved if we didn't have to transport all of those raw materials from this country to remote slave labor countries to again be transported back here, where the demand is?

Engineer-Poet said at September 15, 2011 7:15 PM:
The safest, easiest way to bind 18 hydrogens just happens to be with 8 carbons. All things left the same as today
So how do you get this carbon and hydrogen without depleting fossil stuff?  The "Electrochaea" trick works to make 1-carbon alkane from CO2 and electricity, but going beyond that seems to have... issues.

Lithium titanate batteries have always seemed to be better suited to hybrid recovery of braking energy than mass energy storage.  Ultracaps and even compressed air compete in that niche.  On the other hand, Hanazawa's capacitive power transmission scheme can move power from road to vehicle without any battery at all.  The issue there is the demand curve.  Perhaps we'd be better off with nuclear plants running air compressors off-peak, and that air being used to power the in-road power transmission systems during rush hours.

Randall Parker said at September 15, 2011 7:18 PM:

John Sullivan,

You are right to emphasize urban environments for fast recharge as compared to suburbs. In urban environments car owners are less likely to control the physical environment around their car. Living in an apartment building they might park on the street with no way to plug in to recharge. This is probably a greater need than the need for fast recharge for longer trips. Sure, the latter need is real. But it is less crucial. Getting everyone to and from work is most crucial in automotive transport. That tends to be shorter range.

Judith Stevens said at January 16, 2012 6:49 PM:

In China the process to isolate the Lithium is a national priority.

Why not in America instead of going to Mars? Like the fight to control technology with computers years is our future. Forget that computer technology was given away to off shore manufacturing in China, etc. It was technology and patent robbery.

A deposit was found in Nebraska. We need to extract it faster and safer.

Our research secrets should be closely guarded and not stolen by the Chinese (or given to them by an American company CEO). We allow it over and over. The Department of Energy had secrets stolen in the past. Documents disappeared, etc.

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