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Prototype battery fully charges in under 30 seconds

66

While smartphone processing power, screen resolutions and camera performance have all improved significantly over the last few years, one area of development is seemingly standing still. Under heavy use most smartphone batteries still won't make it through the day, and once plugged in, devices take a long time to charge. 

This might change though. At the Microsoft Think Next Conference in Tel Aviv, Storedot, a start-up from Israel, has shown a prototype battery that charges in under 30 seconds. The bio-organic battery uses nano-crystal technology that originates from research into Alzheimer's disease undertaken 10 years ago at Tel Aviv University.

The battery is currently the size of a cigarette box and therefore has to be connected to devices externally, but Storedot reckons it can build the the battery small enough to fit into a smartphone within a year. The company is also planning to apply the new technology in the development of memory chips and screens. 

The BBC posted a video that shows a battery connected to a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone getting fully charged in 26 seconds. According to a Storedot representative the smartphone could then be operated for two to three hours with that charge.

Faster charging batteries are certainly welcome news to smartphone and tablet users but could also reduce the need for carrying spare batteries on longer photographic excursions. Storedot says its batteries could be commercially available in three years.

Via: BBC


  

Comments

Total comments: 66
mrdancer

In my use, I am typically away from a power source for 10-12 hours at a time, so the 2-3 hours runtime is a no-go. I carry a rechargeable power pack when needed.

Replaceable batteries are still the best way to quickly "recharge" your phone. To my knowledge, only Samsung and Blackberry offer replaceable batteries in smartphones.

Replaceable batteries were also touted as the answer to electric vehicles. Stop at the gas station and do a battery exchange (like a BBQ propane tank exchange) and be on your way in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank. Infrastructure is already there. I think the idea was squashed by people who have other ideas that would make (them) more money.

1 upvote
wetsleet

you can already fully charge most Samsung *phones* in about 30 seconds or so. You remove the back cover and swap the exhausted battery for a fully charged one.
Honestly, I don't see any other way of transferring that amount of energy into the bowels of a phone in that short a time.
However, extend the time to about 10 minutes and the numbers become do-able. 10 minutes isn't so bad, after all.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
luigibozi

make it bigger and put it in an electric automobile

1 upvote
Artak Hambarian

Guys they have proven tge concept. I personally will be rather satisfied if it charges in 300 seconds, i.e. 5 minutes. Thats an excellent result too and will keep the charger reasonably small.

0 upvotes
Itai42

I see a lot of calculations on how much energy will be required to charge the phone assuming it charges at output voltage.

They obviously solved these issues to a degree since the charge they describe is about 500W and by the calculations in the talk-backs it'll require about 100 Amps which is more then the current used by a house full of electric appliances all operating together.

They are using a rather unimpressive connector with no ground while standing quite close to it and not using protective gear - they are not afraid for their lives - they probably overcame the limitation using higher power density in some way...

0 upvotes
Itai42

An simple way to go about it would be parallel charging... take
10 cells - each 90 mAh & 3.6V (making each 324 Wh). charge them in parallel (using 10 different AC-DC converters integrated into one charger) and now you can get the capacity of the demonstrated pack charged in 30 seconds using 10 Amps.
This is still about 5 times the charging current of the supplied Samsung charger though so it's about 2.5 minutes using the original battery technology.

All that is required off the new tech now is lower overhead for multiple cells +- safe charging at 5 times the current of existing Li-Ion cells.

There are sill several additional technical problems to overcome like the size increase due to wasted space, cost-effectiveness & durability at higher complexity of circuitry, 11 extra pins for charging and probably several issues I can't think of because it is not my field of expertise....

0 upvotes
Itai42

My point being - you can overcome barriers that are apparent physical impossibilities by modifying the problem and then solving a more solvable problem...

0 upvotes
wetsleet

so now you have 10 x 10 amps, which still makes 100amps, so you still need connectors with a combined cross-sectional area similar to a set of car jump-start leads.

0 upvotes
Swagon

I'm an electrical engineer that works specifically on battery chargers for cell phones. I see stories like this fairly often. Some healthy skepticism is in order. Let's say the cellphone has a modest 2amp-hour battery. To charge in 30 seconds, which is 1/120th of an hour, would take a nominal 240amps. If the battery is the typical 4v or so, then it is nearly 1000 watts (vs a typical notebook charger at 65watts). This is like a microwave oven or a small hair blow dryer. The charger would need to be large and probably have a fan. The connectors need to be much larger. Note that a micro USB connector is rated for about 2amps. All these things are hidden from you in the video link, but you can see the fat cable. I can tell you that 30second charging is just not going to happen in a smartphone.

4 upvotes
Itai42

Cable isn't that thick but AC power is probably a requirement to charge the battery - maybe due to the nature of the technology and maybe due to parallel charging or some other solution they used for that problem.
In any case - seems like they are a third of the way in terms of holding the same operation time as current battery and have quite a way to go in terms of minimizing the size of the thing.
Might not happen as a battery but even charging a lightning quick portable "recharging cell" to put in your bag in 30 seconds before leaving the house in a hurry and then using it to slowly charge your phone in the bag will be an acceptable bridge product to justify further development of the tech.

They used to state in the same certainty that breaking the sound barrier is impossible and that the airplane will fall apart and out of the sky.
The technical barriers were handled quite rapidly once they decided to try anyway and you have aircrafts reaching hypersonic speeds in the atmosphere

0 upvotes
0MitchAG

Ital42 your comparison with aerodynamics is simply invalid, and that's science for you. Their battery lasts at best for 2-3 hours and would not have close to the cycle life as others have said. As a battery, it's barely comparable to what is already used.

1 upvote
budi0251

well, just in case, probably, if such battery tech would exist in the future; then I suppose we'd find such "Commercial Battery Charging Station" just like today's gas station.

10 cent per-30second-charging @ 5VDC/200amps :D
you could even pay using your phone credit, plus insured against battery explosion, injuries, death and gadget caught fire.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski

A Samsung S4 has a 9.88 watt-hour battery. That's 35568 watt-seconds. To charge that in 26 seconds at 90% efficiency requires 1520W.

Just what everybody wants, a phone that has a 30-pound, $1000 charger that requires exclusive use of a domestic circuit, like a refrigerator does.

Oh, and the phone is a low voltage device. 1520W at 5V is just over 300A. Anyone know a 300A DC connector that's smaller than a cell phone?

Every year or two for the last 12 years, dpReview has ran a 30-second charging battery story. It's sort of the ultimate solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. Battery technology far outstrips charger technology. 5-10 watt chargers are a practical size, weight, and cost, and 1-2 hours is an acceptable charging time to get that size and weight of a charger.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
12 upvotes
0MitchAG

Shhh, don't state common sense facts, it ruins the headline grab.

5 upvotes
PeterTom

And therefore you can read at the end of the article:
"...the smartphone could then be operated for two to three hours with that charge."
So it has not the same capacity as the original battery. And will probably never have it. Or it will need to charge (quite a bit) longer.
But until that becomes obvious to all the startup will have enough money from people who have no idea about physics.

3 upvotes
pellicle

Wonder what sort of explosion one gets if it shorts? Small hand grenade with chemical mist?

6 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

If this could be adapted to an electric car battery it would be really be something.

2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski

Indeed. A Tesla uses a 53 kilowatt-hour battery pack. That's 190 megajoules. A 26 second charge at 90% efficiency would require about 8 megawatts.

It would be something to see.

From a healthy distance.

Or a bunker.

12 upvotes
Toh

May be with a laser guided lightning strike the car would be fully charged in a split of a second!

1 upvote
Mario G

No laser required, you just need a telescopic antenna to pull up and you're ready for your recharging lightning.

0 upvotes
ShoomKloom

Been there, done that.

- Marty McFly

0 upvotes
Lan

Faster charging usually results in shorter battery lifespan. I how many times you can recharge at that rate before it can't be charged at all?

"Yay, it charged in 30s first time!" Works until flat.

"Excellent it charged in 30s again." Works until flat.

"What do you mean battery error?!" Never works again.

I was going to say perhaps I'm being too cynical, but I'm not sure that's possible ;)

5 upvotes
Mario G

Faster charging could also result in shorter lifespan. I wouldn't want to be anywhere close to that lithium being pumped so many amps in it. There is no limit to cynicism :)

1 upvote
joe6pack

They use proprietary battery. I'm pretty sure a fully charged Galaxy S4 runs more than 2-3 hours. Knowing this is an interview, most likely it is closer to 2 hours or maybe less. And their "normal use" likely is not watching 1080p video continuously or talking non-stop.

Good progress but I'm not drinking their Kool-aid.

5 upvotes
JKP

Assuming 2-3 h run on their new battery, versus ~2-3 days with Samsung S4's 3.8V/9.88Wh battery, their capasity is maybe around 3.8V/0.4Wh. So, they need to bumb up capasity 25-times to be competitive.

1 upvote
Toh

Samsung S4 battery is 2600mAh. To fully charge it in 26 seconds the minimum charging current would be 360A regardless of material used. 360A is more than a typical current draw when cranking a car. The cable used has to be at least the size of car battery cable, which gets hot when cranking for too long. A typical USB cable would evaporate in a split of a second! If the charging voltage is 5 volts you would need a 1.8KW (360A*5V) charger! Current S4 charger is about 10W!

1 upvote
joe6pack

Samsung OEM battery is 3.8V or 9.88Wh. With a typical 5V 500mA charger, it would take ~4 hours to charge the OEM battery from empty. If the charger is 273A, it will take 26 seconds.

However, if your charger is 110V. You just need 12.4A, theoretically speaking.

Better yet, if you just need to reach 10% capacity (as in the case of the article). You just need 1.24A.

1 upvote
Karroly

@joe6pack,
On the battery side the voltage cannot be 110V. So no chance to use a 12.4 A charge current...

2 upvotes
joe6pack

If a 9.88Wh battery can be fully charged in 26 seconds. Then the same battery being able to accept a charge from 110V no longer seem impossible.

0 upvotes
Silvarum

But what phone operates at 110V? I wouldn't want to carry dynamotor with me to convert 110V->5V.

1 upvote
chaos215bar2

So, how does the capacity compare to a regular battery?

0 upvotes
utomo99

Some feature phone can have one month battery life. But smartphone is very hungry.
I hope we can optimize it, beside improving the battery.
By using high Ampere we can charge faster.
But internal phone protection must be changed too.

0 upvotes
mike winslow

originates from research into Alzheimers disease.. Please dont beat up on me for asking - but does that mean that it does or doesnt have memory problems like nicad

9 upvotes
thejef

I thought Nano Capacitors would have already replaced the battery. In a perfect world a nano capacitor would charge instantly, have no memory effects, are the same physical size as conventional batteries and last forever. They were developed by MIT but have yet to see the light of day for consumers.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Kim Letkeman

So are you saying that this is yet another conspiracy -- this time by "big battery" -- to keep us paying for old technology so they can milk us for a few more decades? I'm only half kidding ...

0 upvotes
Adrian Joseph Roy

I'm only half laughing. I know battery technology has progressed over the last 20 years, but it seems to be so millimetric. Look at things like CPU speed, storage costs/speed/size, etc. Everything else has moved by leaps and bounds. C'mon Tesla R&D, give us Li cells that last a week at least...

0 upvotes
JaFO

I think most people are underestimating how much effort it takes to apply the lessons learned in labratory setting to the real world of mass production.

Plus part of the problem is that consumers appear to be satisfied with having to recharge their phones after a few hours of use. If we hadn't accepted that we might have seen more progress.

0 upvotes
Expat Nomad

Interesting research.

Begs the question though, in terms of smartphone use, why are phone makers under-designing battery capacity?

5 years ago, you had phones that lasted 7-9 days on a single charge. My arcane BB still lasts 3-4 under pretty heavy use.

I'd be more interested in gains in energy improvements (for example like those in miniaturization for medical devices) that allowed me to charge my battery less.

0 upvotes
Kim Letkeman

That's actually obvious ... build a powerful computer with a huge screen and a world phone inside and then make it so thin that you cannot feel it in your pocket ... now how big a battery can you fit? Not very ...

5 upvotes
Celador

Besides, smartphones don't work in the same way that old cellphones. A normal cellphone doesn't connect all the time to the internet to check for updates (push services), and that is what drains the battery on smartphones. Larger screens and more functions also have a big impact. If you put your smartphone on airplane mode, and only use it to call every now and then, the battery will last for days (of course it will make the cellphone almost useless)

5 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski

There are currently 122 processes running on my S4. The thing is never really "off".

0 upvotes
JaFO

simple answer : because people don't care.
The average user really doesn't mind that he has to recharge, because he has learned to cope with the reduced effective capacity.
Each and everone of us has gotten into the habit of using the charger the moment we drop our phone anyhwere.

0 upvotes
Greg VdB

"According to a Storedot representative the smartphone could then be operated for two to three hours with that charge"

So not yet of a high enough capacity/size to be used in real life situations, but it's an interesting new technology, and there's a huge market out there to ensure a quick development.

By the way, development of batteries is definitely not standing still. Here's another example of a new battery design, geared (besides having other advantages) towards quick charging of the high capacities required for instance in electric cars.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945924/
The researchers have also said their technology could be used in small batteries (cameras, phones) as well.

And there's probably more solutions in development out there, so it looks like we're close to a battery revolution!

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
badi

i looked on their website, and it seems that they work into image sensor improvements too. I couldn't find much details but their state is:
"Image sensors utilizing this technology are 5 times more sensitive than existing sensors." (about this so called nanodots technology).
That would be something, right? :)

3 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski

Every such announcement of "dots", "nano" gadgets, or "quantum" something's that increase sensors has turned out to be a total misrepresentation.

Remember Graphene?

0 upvotes
JKP

To me, that statement kind of casts doubt over the invention. It _could_ be used for this and that, (...but it really has fundamental problems in each application).

Nanodots are currently kind of fashion thing and are widely used to attract investors.

Hopefully I'm wrong, and they truly are after something special. Wonder tho, why they just didn't use standard Android battery indicator in the test, but had made their own...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nick8

Any development in battery technologies is good news.
Hopefully the electric vehicles will become the standard in the next future. Once the batteries are available, everything else can be designed accordingly.

4 upvotes
0MitchAG

And what is the relevance to photography here? This is not longer battery life; a solar charger for this battery would be useful though.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

does your camera have a battery?

9 upvotes
0MitchAG

Does your flower field have AC outlets? Like the man said, "200 AMPS and big cables". "It doesn't solve the real problem we have with mobile phone batteries."

1 upvote
0MitchAG

But to answer your rhetoric, yes, but it isn't removable and certainly isn't charged on AC.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I am not saying this new technology (and as the guys themselves say, it's still in its infancy) will save human kind but it's certainly worth reporting on. No, it doesn't help you much in a flower field but if your battery runs out you only have to stay in that Starbucks for 30 seconds and not two hours to charge your device. That's not bad, is it?

3 upvotes
0MitchAG

It's not bad at all, but this does nothing to address energy storage or consumption, so it still doesn't help if you are stuck in a field, or on top of that mountain.

0 upvotes
0MitchAG

If the whole system was portable, it might be more relevant for some brands, but for phones that are proprietary (ie. Apple), it is useless.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

fully agree but has anyone claimed it helps you when you're stuck in a field?

0 upvotes
RPJG

Yes, let's not bother with technology advances if they don't (yet!) directly address your corner case. Thanks for posting.

2 upvotes
0MitchAG

My point is, this is not a solution, and you've recognised that in your last paragraph, but it's still why this article was posted. So being out and remote would be a use-case scenario of mobile photography. I think targeting smartphones is the wrong direction for this technology.

0 upvotes
Steve Balcombe

Are you kidding? Being able to charge a smartphone in a few minutes would be a huge advantage in many situations. Just because it doesn't solve every problem and work for world peace in its spare time doesn't mean it isn't useful.

And to answer your other question - I do carry a spare battery if I'm going to be away from a charging point for more than a day, which does happen occasionally.

0 upvotes
0MitchAG

You're the first to mention world peace, now I am interested! :) Kidding aside, this technology is not useful in this context (mobile photography) but that does not exclude it from other applications (see the last paragraph of this article).
The fact is that this does not defeat the need to carry extra batteries, far from it and common sense should tell us that portable AC generators are not practical to carry. If this article was about a portable AC solar generator.... but it's not. This technology is limited to the confines of an outlet.

As said, if you can find an outlet, more power to [your phone] but don't pretend that it solves the problem of battery life. If it did, well what a way to stagnate storage developments. And then, we'd only hear them complain more. :)

1 upvote
Mario G

C'mon DPR, stop wasting your time with these useless AC devices, who uses them any more? Just start to cover instead things like portable pedal generators. That's what you're really gonna need in a flower field when your battery runs flat.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski

Lars, are you pushing the 30 pound 1,500 W charger on a cart, or are you expecting StarBucks to start offering charging stations?

2 upvotes
0MitchAG

Starbucks laughs and points to their wireless charging docks.

0 upvotes
0MitchAG

Who carries spare batteries for their phone???

1 upvote
JaFO

I do ...

0 upvotes
ystein Bach

This is quite good news.
However, my experience is that long time storage that kills batteries like Li-ion or LiPo is perhaps more important than super quick charge..
OK, super quick charge a 200mAh battery is OK, it is just 24A charge current. Super quick charge a Tesla Car is simply impossible due to the high energy capacity.

1 upvote
lylejk

Saw a video on this one a few days ago. Very interesting technology. A gamechanger if they can make a car battery using this technology, but for cameras it would be cool too. The prototype that I saw looked, well, bulky, but I'm sure the finished product will be ergo. :)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 66
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