Accidental Battery Discovery Claims 50% Capacity Boost

UK university researchers are claiming to have stumbled onto a way to increase an automotive powertrain battery’s capacity by 50%.

Scientists from University College London (UCL) also say their findings could dramatically shorten the time taken to charge a BEV. They only made the discovery by accident when trying to separate layers of phosphorus crystals into two-dimensional sheets.

The process they took three years to refine involves phosphorene nanoribbons, one-atom thick ribbons that can also be 100,000 atoms long. Therefore, they can be manipulated into many different shapes and sizes and can be fine-tuned for specific purposes. Being “corrugated” structures, nanoribbons enable the charged ions, the fundamental part of a battery, to move up to one thousand times faster “significantly” speeding charging times and increasing battery capacity by up to half. It would also mean batteries could use sodium ions instead of lithium improving climate friendly credentials. The lithium extraction process is seen as environmentally harmful, meaning BEVs aren’t as ‘green’ as we like to think.

The technology could be used to cheaply extract hydrogen from water, which has so far eluded the scientific community. This would mean hydrogen could be used as a low-cost, efficient, cheap fuel and power fuel cells, which in turn could provide power to vehicles, possibly making BEVs obsolete.


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