A fast charging electric car battery is now a reality, thanks to two different research teams in Korea and an advanced material called graphene.

The key breakthrough is not only the battery’s super-fast charging capability, but its storage capacity, which contains almost as much energy density as current lithium-ion models.

The main advantage is the re-charge time — a big issue for electric car owners, who often have to wait an hour to refill at a charging station, before going another 200 miles. In the near future, that charge time will be cut to seconds, comparable to filling your tank at the pump.

Santhakumar Kannappan and his co-researchers the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology developed a super-capacitor technology using the new wonder material – graphene. Graphene is one of the thinnest, lightest, strongest and most conductive materials know to man, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure.

By increasing the surface area and making a highly porous form of graphene that can fold up many times over, a very thin capacitor can provide the extra storage capacity. The thinness of the graphene also saves weight and space. Further, the Gwangju team says the battery can also maintain this quick-charge capacity over many tens of thousands of charging cycles, according the MIT’s Technology Review.

It will take time to develop methods to mass produce these cheaply enough, but with world demand, it shouldn’t be too long.

Professor Lee Hyo-young at Sungkyunkwan University, whose battery charged 1,000 times faster than an L-ion model, said, “This technology is expected to be used in small energy storage units, electronic devices, electric vehicles, and next-gen energy storage equipment that requires fast charging.” Lee’s research was published online April 2 at ACS Nano, a monthly scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society.

Research findings by Kannappan’s team was published in November 2013 at Cornell.

(READ more in Business Korea)

Photo: Byung Hee Hong – Thanks to Andrew N. for sending the link!


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