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Toshiba To Launch "Super Charge" Batteries

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the fill-'er-up dept.

Power 202

ozgood writes in to let us know about Toshiba's announcement that it has developed a new type of rechargeable battery dubbed the Super Charge ion Battery, or SCiB. Toshiba claims the new battery will mainly target the industrial market, though they hint the technology may eventually find a home in electric vehicles. The SCiB can recharge to 90% of total capacity in under five minutes, and has a life span of over 10 years. "Toshiba also says the battery has excellent safety with the new negative electrode material having a high level of thermal stability and a high flash point. The battery is also said to be structurally resistant to internal short-circuiting and thermal runaway."

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202 comments

awesome! (2, Interesting)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685707)

Awesome, I would get one of these. I hate sitting in an airport recharging my laptop battery for eons at a time. 10 minutes to get 90% of the charge back eh? I want one now! ::jumps up and down::... Now if only my cell phone could do this too... and my Digital camera, and camcorder too... I like how they point out that it has more safety features too. Although, I am wondering if we will still see these batteries exploding at the most inopportune time... like a presentation on how awesome it is...?

Re:awesome! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685909)

good luck lugging around the power cord you'll need to charge these things

it won't be that small travel charger and 5A cord

these things will need power cords roughly the size of the ones you use to connect to a generator or dryer (100A+) to move that many joules of energy that quickly without melting the cord itself. And the AC/DC transformer won't be a little travel wart either.

in other words, don't hold your breath

Re:awesome! (3, Funny)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686143)

God, if the laptops from Sony and Apple were blowing up and melting because of defective batteries, imagine a "Super Charge" Battery malfunctioning and melting your ass to the chair!

Re:awesome! (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686617)

the battery doesn't hold any more energy than the other batteries (more or less). There'd be the same energy release in a failure. NOW, if there's a charging fault when you're connected to that monster circuit... watch out.

Re:awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686345)

life span != battery charge.

Re:awesome! (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686379)

good luck lugging around the power cord you'll need to charge these things

And the air conditioner. Even if the power cord doesn't act like a big fuse, the battery will turn into a griddle. Maybe it will incorporate an integrated Peltier plate or something.

Re:awesome! (5, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686471)

So the random laptop battery I have handy is rated 10.8V, 4.8Ah -- 52Wh. 5 minutes for 80% charge (from 10% to 90%, you're unlikely to let it go all the way to zero) is just shy of 500 watts. Your average wall outlet is easily capable of that (12A at 115V is a nice, conservative estimate). The power brick to handle that won't be huge -- think about a 500W computer power supply, and then remember that this will be noticeably smaller and more efficient because it only has to provide one output voltage instead of the mess your average computer wants. It'll need some cooling (even at a mildly aggressive but reasonable 95% efficiency, that's 25W of waste heat), but the fan will still be reasonable.

At first glance it would appear that the cable from power brick to laptop would be huge and awkward, but that can be solved fairly easily by having the connection be more like a docking station cradle. That would also let the charger supply additional airflow for the battery with a larger fan that you'd find on the laptop itself -- the battery will get rather warm during this process, and battery heating is probably one of the limiting factors on charge rates for something like this.

Re:awesome! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686637)

these things will need power cords roughly the size of the ones you use to connect to a generator or dryer (100A+) to move that many joules of energy that quickly without melting the cord itself. And the AC/DC transformer won't be a little travel wart either.

They'll also likely be very hot while charging. Not something I think I'd want in my laptop.

Re:awesome! (4, Informative)

retiredtwice (1128097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686741)

Not exactly.

TFA says it can take 50 amps. It is a lithium cell, therefore 3.6 volts.

That is 1.6 amps at 120volts. Not a big deal (and yes, I didn't account for conversion losses so say 2 amps max at 120v). Now this is for your cell phone or PDA.

So, while your wall wart will grow some and will probably end up close to the unit being charged instead of being plugged into the wall, the power cord is fine and you won't be blowing any house breakers.

Now for your laptop at 20volts which is 5 or 6 cells, you will need 8.8 amps at 120v so say 10 amps total. Still not a deal breaker but you may need 18 ga wire in the power supply to wall connection instead of 20 or 22 ga. The thing that gets big here is the wire ga to the unit itself. Now THAT could be a problem so we will probably not see a full 50 amps into the unit itself. The physical space for the leads inside the cell phone, computer, etc, get a bit large.

Re:awesome! (2, Insightful)

getnate (518090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687258)

Use a charging station at the airport. You take the battery out of the laptop and insert it into the slot. The charging station could handle all that.

Re:awesome! (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687436)

Well, you don't necessarily have to do it in 5 minutes, even 10 woudl be nice. And if you upped teh voltage to 48V or something you wouldn't have to pass much more than 10A. But maybe there'd be some safety concerns with that kind of laptop plug.

 

Re:awesome! (5, Funny)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686013)

I am wondering if we will still see these batteries exploding at the most inopportune time
I'd think anytime that you have an unscheduled explosion would be the most inopportune time.

I can't ever imagine myself saying "I think I'll have a beer, watch the game, and let the battery in my computer blow up."

Re:awesome! (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686107)

I'd think anytime that you have an unscheduled explosion would be the most inopportune time.

Well, some times are more inopportune than others.

Having the battery explode while the computer is sitting on a desk and you're having a beer watching the game is inopportune. Having the battery explode while you're working on the computer and it's in your lap, that's most inopportune.

Re:awesome! (1)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686177)

ROFL... who can actually PUT a laptop on their lap nowadays? I can cook eggs on my laptop most of the time. An explosion might make my lobster red legs feel better, hey ya never know?

Re:awesome! (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686277)

Do you have a P4 based laptop or something, or are you running Linux with no power management and doing compiles? Most of my laptops draw 45W peak and the majority of that is for the LCD backlight, the CPU doesn't draw enough power to heat much of anything.

Re:awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686463)

Actually most goes to the CPU. My laptop uses about 12 watts when plugged in with light use (not playing games). ~4 of that is to keep the spindle on the disk going, another 4 for the backlight and the remaining for CPU. These are guestimates based on the internal power meter.

At max draw 45w or so at the very least 30 of that is going directly to the CPU/GPU for the processor to operate at a higher clock and actually do work rather than munch on the HLT instruction.

Re:awesome! (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686773)

The L model Core2Duo processors max at 17W so I guess if you have it and a mobile GPU maxed you would draw about 30W. That's still not enough to cook your lap =)

Re:awesome! (5, Funny)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686265)

Well, it could explode in the pocket of someone who is about to kill you. I don't think that would be the most inopportune time.

I don't know.... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686713)

I've been in meetings where I wished something like that would happen (whether mine or someone else's depends on which meeting)...

Re:awesome! (1)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686829)

I can't ever imagine myself saying "I think I'll have a beer, watch the game, and let the battery in my computer blow up."
Lord knows I can...

So they have 220V 20A "dryer" outlets in airports? (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686253)

My cell phone charges at 1A at 5V - that's a fairly hefty load for a cheap, minuscule wall wart. To get it to recharge in 10 min would take - well - anyone care to lug around a 12-gauge extension cord to deliver the 10A it would take to deliver that much power?

Alternatively, you could make your power cord really short - build the charger to plug directly into the wall without a cord. But it would still be big.

What next - I'll be asking for a 408V 1000A 3-phase industrial drop to recharge my electric car in an hour!

Re:awesome! (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686827)

Bah, this is nothing. EEStor's EESU [freepatentsonline.com] ultracapcitor prototype gets charge times like this, a leakage rate of 0.1% per month, virtually no degradation over time, and has over twice the energy density of the best lithium-ion batteries on the market, with half the cost of lead-acid. The science behind it is sound (a lot of these titanates have crazy permittivity from the perspective of individual crystals, and if you can eliminate the voids traditionally left by sintering, as they appear to have done, it can't arc discharge through them when you make bulk ceramics). The economics looks sound, too (nickel electrodes aren't that expensive, nor is anything needed to produce barium titanate). The only real question is whether they can actually commercialize them rather than just make and operate them in the lab (the typical sticking factor). Their mass production facility has hit its milestone for barium titanate purity, as tested by an outside lab, but they haven't yet hit their mass produced ceramic permittivity testing milestone. The company is abnormally tight-lipped; both scammers and legit companies are typically shouting about how great they are in order to get more money, but EEStor is being so quiet that the only way you can generally get info about what's going on is to talk to the company that gets their first units, ZENN Motors.

Either way, here's to hoping. :) Something like that would basically change the world. Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Beyers (the main funders, a major investment firm famous for early buys on tech companies that made it big -- Amazon.com, AOL, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Macromedia, Netscape, Sun, etc) calls it their "highest risk, highest reward" investment. Its a shame that ZENN has the initial exclusive rights to their capacitors for electric vehicles; I find ZENN's vehicles to be the ugliest, least interesting electrics being put on the market.

fr157 post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685709)

yet another first post saved from the grosser trolls! =D I hope at least...

Supercharge THIS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685735)


The world's MOST dangerous person [whitehouse.org] .

Thanks for your activism.

Re:Supercharge THIS (1)

phozz bare (720522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687173)

Actually I've just had an interesting conversation with Zork I on this very matter. It went like this:

ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire
Copyright (c) 1981, 1982, 1983 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Revision 88 / Serial number 840726

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.

>eat house
I don't think that the white house would agree with you.

similar (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685759)

performance characteristics remind me of ultracapacitor technology. Makes me wonder how the two technologies will compete, price-wise.

Storage Density?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685763)

What about storage density?? That's the big question. If it beats current battery technology in this aspect, that would ROCK!!!!!

Re:Storage Density?? (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685861)

What about storage density?? That's the big question.

Storage density is not as relevant, when you can recharge in 5 minutes.

If you're traveling somewhere you won't be able to recharge, then use an older, higher capacity battery. Otherwise, who cares if you're recharging every 2 hours (or whatever) if it only takes 5 minutes to do so?

Re:Storage Density?? (2, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685945)

So I have to stop every 2 hours for 5 minutes of charging? That's going to be a fun cross-country drive.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686023)

Did you READ what I wrote? If you're doing something where you can't get to a recharging station/electrical outlet, use a REGULAR BATTERY.

Re:Storage Density?? (3, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686149)

But the PP point is that these are going to be applied to hybrid vehicles. It would do us no good to have to stop every 2 hours of driving to charge for 5 mins. Your case works well for conventional Li-on battery uses. Their point is about proposed rapid charging for future uses. In their case, yeah, storage makes a large difference

Re:Storage Density?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686221)

So put double the batteries in, so you have to stop every 4 hours. Why not make a super fast charge station at gas stations.. then every 4 hours you stop for 5 minutes at a gas station and top off your battery. Seems pretty reasonable...

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686369)

It doesn't work that way; cars are limited by weight and space considerations. If it matches current Li-ion batteries, the max range will probably be 150-200 miles.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686583)

Did you calculate the weight of the battery pack? A Tesla Roadster has about 900 pounds of batteries, with this battery, you my need 2000 pounds of batteries to reach same "miles per charge" value.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

themacks (1197889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686357)

In typical hybrid cars wouldn't the alternator be able to provide at least five minutes of charge during a two hour trip?

In a pure electric vehicle, five minutes of total braking should do the equivalent. Even on the highway you still hit the brakes every now and then.

I'm guessing that you could drive a little longer than just two hours with one of these.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687228)

It would do us no good to have to stop every 2 hours of driving to charge for 5 mins.



http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031015031752.htm [sciencedaily.com]


a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia discovered that the development of a plug-in fuel cell hybrid, with as little as 20 miles of range from rechargeable hydrogen, could cut the amount of gasoline consumed in the United States by more than 50 percent. In addition, this technology could be mass produced in the next five years.


"About 47 percent of all miles put on vehicles in a day are within the first 20 miles of travel," said Galen Suppes, associate professor of chemical engineering at MU. "Furthermore, about 50 percent of the vehicles travel 20 miles or less per day, and this 20 mile distance is usually in inner-city travel where fuel economy for conventional internal combustion engines is poor and emissions have their greatest adverse affects."

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686495)

No, you can't. The real story maybe something like this, 2 hours of driving, then find a place to charge, then power grid down due to high current.

Re:Storage Density?? (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686565)

On long cross country trips, my partner and I switch drivers every two hours or so. And usually take the time to open up a new juice box or water, etc. Doesn't sound that inconvenient to me.

And let's do some math, shall we? Gasoline prices of $3/gal, with a car that gets 30 mpg (average consumer vehicle on the road is just under 20, thanks to old cars, SUVs, RVs, guzzling pickups, etc). That's ten cents per mile. An electric car with a range of 175mi that gets about 150Wh/mi (about average for the crop that's about to hit the market) capacity costs about 1.5 cents per mile. At 175mi, average speed of 65mph, that's 5 minutes of fuelling every 2.7 hours. Let's say 7 minutes for the overhead. This means just over 4 minutes of every hour driven is spent fuelling; gasoline cars have to fuel too, so let's say 3 additional minutes per hour is spent fuelling with an electric. During that hour of driving, covering 65 miles, the gasoline powered car cost $6.50, while the electric car cost $1. Net savings, $5.50. In short, you're saving $5.50 for 3 minutes of delay, which equates to the equivalent of saving of $110 per hour of extra time spent fuelling.

And you wouldn't choose this why?

Besides, I just love the look of the next gen crop of electrics. My favorite is the Aptera [autobloggreen.com] . I agree with one reporter's description: it looks like "Batman's girlfriend's car". And last they published specs, they hadn't seemed to have settled on a specific battery manufacturer yet. Which, to me, says there's a fair shot that these Toshiba batteries (or some of the other fast charging batteries soon hitting the market) may, if not in their first gen vehicles, land in their next gen vehicles.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

pete.com (741064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686681)

And you wouldn't choose this why?


..... because I have a wife and 3 kids in a vehicle with a 42 gallon tank that goes 800+ miles @ 75 miles an hour. Cost per mile is not a big consideration. Travel distance between stops is.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686867)

You can still go 75 mph. You just spend around an extra three minutes per hour and save $110 in that hour. Even if you factor in your wife, you're effectively each earning $55 an hour, tax-free. Do you and your wife each make $55 an hour, tax free, in your job? That'd be equivalent to a pre-tax income of, what, $90 an hour?

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

jdschulteis (689834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686227)

The Toshiba press release (http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2007_12/pr1101.htm [toshiba.co.jp] ) has specs for the battery. The attached graphs (http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2007_12/1101/SCiB.pdf [toshiba.co.jp] ) show the gravimetric energy density to be greater than that of the NiMH batteries used for hybrid vehicles but less than that of lithium-ion batteries used for mobile devices, which explains why they are aiming this at the industrial market rather than laptops.

Re:Storage Density?? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686417)

From the numbers from the Toshiba news release, I calculated that the density is about 0.25 Mj/kg, which is a little bit higher than the NiMH batteries (0.22MJ/kg from wikipedia), but about half or less of lithium ion batteries (0.54-0.72 from wikipedia too). This is only an estimate.

Garbage batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685781)

As long as they don't blow up or catch your lap on fire, I welcome these new batteries. Sure beats the ones I have seen so far, expensive, shot inside of 2 years. Need to move this up and get rid of batteries that die so quick.

Another article on SCiB (3, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685791)

http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/11/toshiba-launching-scib-batteries-in-march-5-min-charge-10-year [engadget.com]

According to this article, hybrid cars will be the first use for these batteries.

As long as the energy density is comparable to current Lithium-ion batteries, then this will be some pretty cool tech.

Re:Another article on SCiB (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686395)

According to this article, hybrid cars will be the first use for these batteries.

I would imagine that this will help speed the adoption of "plugin" hybrids, which let you recharge the batteries off the grid in between drives. Who knows, we might even see the ability to charge up your batteries while you fill up your gas tank, if the charge time is sufficiently short.

The biggest bonus to plugin hybrids, though, is probably the efficient use of the power grid - people will tend charge their cars at night, when the load on the electrical grid is lowest. Combine this with time-based metering, and the electric car might actually become a common reality, in the form of hybrid plugins.

Now we just need to get major car manufacturers to make their hybrids plugin instead of forcing enterprising customers to hack it on afterwards.

Re:Another article on SCiB (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686591)

The biggest bonus to plugin hybrids, though, is probably the efficient use of the power grid - people will tend charge their cars at night, when the load on the electrical grid is lowest.

No, they'll come home from work and plug in immediately, when the load on the electrical grid is highest (at least during the summer)

Re:Another article on SCiB (1)

kcornia (152859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686783)

That's an easy fix though, electric company incents drivers with a timer they plug into when they get home, but doesn't start drawing power til 12am, etc.

Re:Another article on SCiB (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687115)

No, they'll come home from work and plug in immediately, when the load on the electrical grid is highest (at least during the summer)

As the other responder said, this is easy to fix with a timer. Combine that with time-based electricity rates (kWH which cost a fraction at night of what they do during the day), and the incentives are there for consumers to efficiently use the grid.

Re:Another article on SCiB (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686663)

If you can recharge in a short enough period of time, just skip the hybrid and go straight to all-electric. How about a Wendy's or Starbucks with charging stations? Stop for a bite or a cup of coffee, come back out and get into your fully charged vehicle.

Re:Another article on SCiB (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687171)

If you can recharge in a short enough period of time, just skip the hybrid and go straight to all-electric. How about a Wendy's or Starbucks with charging stations? Stop for a bite or a cup of coffee, come back out and get into your fully charged vehicle.

The problem there is chicken and egg - you'd need a lot of people driving electric cars before there is sufficient demand for Wendy's or Starbucks to put up a metered electrical outlet. People won't want to buy the cars unless they know they can take them on most trips. With a hybrid, the range is unlimited and the worst inconvenience is simply less use of the electric motor and more use of the gas engine.

That said, if plugins become popular, office/retail buildings are going to have to start locking up any outside-accessible power outlets (if they can be charged with 115V). Why fill up on gas when you can get 50-100 miles range for free by hijacking some company's maintenance power outlet?

Re:Another article on SCiB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686597)

Rough estimate of energy density:
4.2Ah * 2.4v = 10Wh
10Wh / 0.15kg = 67 Wh/kg

Top of the line lithium cobalt oxide cells:
2.6Ah * 3.7v = 9.6Wh
9.6Wh / 0.047kg = 204 Wh/kg

So these new batteries have about one third of the energy density of modern laptop battery cells... so while it'll charge fast, expect your laptop to run for about an hour on a charge. That's why this is targeted towards the hybrid vehicle market. Energy capacity doesn't matter that much for a hybrid - current capacity and cycle count, however, are a different story. They determine how much of the braking energy can be put back into the battery pack, and how long the battery will last.

How exactly do you get that much power IN? (4, Insightful)

effigiate (1057610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685793)

If these are large batteries with many AH, how big of a power supply would you need to charge 90% of the battery in ten minutes?

Re:How exactly do you get that much power IN? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686067)

More critically, how clean does the charging voltage have to be?

Suppose my 45 WHr laptop battery could be charged in ten minutes. That's 240W -- say 500W, to account for conversion inefficiencies. The power cord to your hair dryer carries four times this much. That, in itself, isn't the problem.

The problem is, how much processing do we have to do to mains power to feed it in?

Problem: top current (4, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685847)

TFA says "The SCiB batteries can recharge with as much as 50 amperes of current", which puts a limit on how fast you can charge it. If the capacity is, say, 10 Ah, then you would need 120 A current to charge it in five minutes.

Re:Problem: top current (0)

Polysick (926605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685933)

I don't think that's true. I think the point is that 50 amperes of current will charge it to 90% in five minutes. when you are talking about Ampere hours, you are referring to the time/current for when you discharge it, so you would need 120 amps to DIS-charge it in 5 minutes, but they obviously have come up with the technology to charge it much quicker than discharging it.

Re:Problem: top current (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686017)

Presumably, the battery cells of say, a car, could be charged in parallel. So let's say that a recharge takes about 15-20 minutes. Seems that the "pumping station" of the future would take the Convenience Stores of today to their logical conclusion.

Instead of a few pumps, you see a small parking lot. You pull into a space and hook up the charger. Then you go inside and get a meal, some coffee for the road, or just make a pitstop. You then go to the counter to check if the charge is complete and pay for the electricity you used. Go back out to your car, disconnect the charger, and you're ready to hit the road again.

Re:Problem: top current (4, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686267)

Automotive companies have repeatedly stated that in order to "meet expectations" a car needs to travel roughly 300 miles per "fueling" and the "fueling" needs to take 5-10 minutes at most.

I think you hit the nail on the head - if they can get a charge down to under 10 minutes and the range up to 200+ miles, it will be quite popular.

Personally, I'd like to see some sort of inductive charger for batteries like this that I can use for a laptop. Rather than cabling everything up, you just rest your laptop on the mat within range for 10 minutes, and you're good to go.

Re:Problem: top current (2, Interesting)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686443)

Personally, I'd like to see some sort of inductive charger for batteries like this that I can use for a laptop. Rather than cabling everything up, you just rest your laptop on the mat within range for 10 minutes, and you're good to go.

Now things are getting interesting, with that suggestion. Take it a step further - why not embed these inductive chargers (in cities) right into traffic intersections? Give yourself a boost while you're waiting on the red. If anything, it could be used for everything from cars to buses, I would suppose.

Re:Problem: top current (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687137)

I can certainly think of some areas where I could get a full charge while in traffic! Interesting idea... I wonder if the safety issues and the cost would outweigh the benefits?

just one more step to infinity... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687372)

Take it a step further - why not embed these inductive chargers (in cities) right into traffic intersections?

So, why not go all the way embed them all over along roads and streets? Do away with batteries entirely, except for very short stretches? All-terrain vehicles and others that need to drive in dirt roads could be hybrids.

Re:Problem: top current (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21687085)

I know this has no basis in science, but as soon as I read your post I imagined nice pretty charging mat for a laptop sitting on a desk, slightly warm from being used. Then I see a house cat slowly meandering its way over to it, plopping down and then prompty exploding

Re:Problem: top current (2, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686709)

"You then go to the counter to check if the charge is complete and pay for the electricity you used."

As long as you're setting things up from scratch, why not go a step further and put some sort of RFID system/sensor into the car/charger. Just stop anywhere, plug in your car, and electricity is automatically billed to your account.

Re:Problem: top current (1)

euxneks (516538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686799)

That sounds a bit like Starbucks might want to get into that. They're already selling music, why not energy.

Gas stations obselete? (3, Insightful)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687067)

If this type of technology were to really take off, it would quickly obsolete the need for traditional gas stations. Virtually any business that requires at least 5-10 minutes of your time and has their own parking could install charging meters. Assuming these batteries don't easily take on a memory for partial charging, widespread use of charging stations could mean you top off every time you park your vehicle if you want. Parking garages, parking meters, grocery stores, malls, etc. Besides long trips, I don't even think most consumers would feel constrained by only a 150 mile range if that were true.

Re:Problem: top current (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686415)

It's obviously 50 amps per cell, not just 50 amps no matter how big the battery. Information at Toshiba's web site says that a single cell is 2.4 volts and 4 amp hours. That jives pretty well with the 5 minutes recharge to 90% of capacity.

Of course, if you are trying to charge a battery capable of powering a car 200 miles, you'll need on the order of 40 kWH. That's 4000 amps at 120 volts for five minutes. My house has 60-amp service.

The energy density didn't look that good, from the information I found on the web. I don't have link at the moment, but from memory the SCiB cells had 2 to 3 times the volume compared to NiMH AA cells of the same capacity.

Posted by samzenpus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685849)

New High Tech Weapons & linux
Terrorists & linux
Aliens, moving to another Galaxy after we kill earth & linux
Biological weapons & linux
Will time travel be invented in 2008? & linux
How to avoid the death of US soldiers while maximizing the death of emeny soldiers & linux
Putin is Bad & linux
No world peace because look at this coool weapon & linux
Can terrorists see your DNA & linux

Who the fuck is this joker and what is he doing on /.?

High wattage power brick (0, Redundant)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685877)

You're going to need a fairly high powered AC-DC converter to draw the amount of current required to charge a battery to 90% in 5 minutes. My thinkpad has a 65w converter and it gets very hot when charging.

Reassuring to know... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21685919)

... that I can live in fear for 10 years that one of these bad boys might set my crotch on fire!

Re:Reassuring to know... (4, Funny)

BuckBundy (781446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686003)

Hmm, what kind of device are you using that puts batteries next to your crotch?...
WAIT A MINUTE!
Boys, we have a woman posted among us! Oh, dear Slashdot...

Re:Reassuring to know... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686273)

Women have been posting here for years now. You don't pay much attention, do you?

Re:Reassuring to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686315)

Joke + You = Woosh

Re:Reassuring to know... (2, Funny)

BuckBundy (781446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686807)

Honey, is this you?
(By GF also thinks that I am sexist pig and has no sense of humour ;-)
Lighten up, bud, go watch some MWC episodes.

Amps without volts (4, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21685989)

The article makes reference to amperage, but without voltage that value is basically meaningless. Now if they were talking wattage then we would know exactly how much power these batteries produce (and consume during charging).

Dan East

Re:Amps without volts (3, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686059)

Whatever voltage the batteries naturally operate at is going to be close to the charging voltage. Besides, you can always do a worst case estimation. Suppose they charge at 20 volts, which would be insanely high. 50 amps * 20 volts = 1000 watts. Beefy for sure, but that's an overestimate. A residential circuit can handle 1000 watts no problem. The actual value will be less than that.

Re:Amps without volts (1)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686669)

Residential circuit ...

The object around a house which consumes / produces the most power is the car.

  - Refrigerator: couple of 100 Watts
  - Blow drier, vacuum cleaner: 1000-2000 Watts
  - Electric cooker / washer / drier: 5000 Watts? 10'000 Watts?

In comparison, the car uses / produces anything from 40'000 Watts to 200'000 Watts. 40 kW is about 50 HP ... pretty small car. Of course, the car doesn't use full power all the time, but then again, 85 on the highway maxes it out, so if you're travelling, you're using several dozen kW.

So if you want to spend say 4 hours on the highway, you'll need about 160 kWH. If your residential circuit can give you, say, 30 kW (cooking, washing and drying, all at once), it's going to take you 5+ hours to get the energy into the car.

Just saying that residential circuits aren't up to the task. Cars use a heck of a lot of energy. Grids ain't up to it.

(If we're talking about cars, that is. If it's anything else ... just lay back, relax, and watch me ride my hobby horse. Point and laugh if you feel like it. I can take it.)

Re:Amps without volts (1)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686743)

If you read the toshiba.jp page with the press release, you'll see they indicate a 2.4V nominal for every cell. I'd say it's Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) at the positive electrode against Titanium dioxide (TiO2) at the negative, two of the mainly studied materials nowadays.
This choice of materials limits the energy density, though: you lose one full Volt against the normal LiCoO2 vs. C cells, while the capacity stays pretty much the same.
That said, it is sure a good choice for cars, less so for portable devices.

That's great but ... (0, Redundant)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686081)

How big/heavy of a wall-wart will be required to pump the 50 to 100 A of current to do that?

Re:That's great but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21686587)

Not much. 50A @ 12V (DC battery side) = 5A @ 120V (AC mains side)

Cordless contractor equipment (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686097)

I would think one of the first uses for this type of thing would be for contractor grade cordless powertools. With current battery tech any heavily used battery lasts less than 2 years with the kind of abuse construction guys give em. Of course you're going to need one heck of an extra alternator to charge em that quickly, more likely a separate generator.

Re:Cordless contractor equipment (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686413)

Yeah, but part of the problem with current contractor equipment is naive charging circuitry that does nothing to prevent over-charging or over-draining, and has a button for "deep cycle" even though the chemistry doesn't recommend that.

Poor energy density (4, Insightful)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686329)

Disclaimer: IAAEVE (I am an electric vehicle engineer), so my analysis is biased toward vehicle applications.

According to the specs on their own website [toshiba.co.jp] , the energy density for their modules is about 50 watthours per kilogram (24V * 4.2Ah / 2.0kg). At 50 Wh/kg they're barely competing with lead-acid batteries, and competing quite poorly with Nickel-metal batteries, which are near 100 Wh/kg and have proven safety and durability in vehicle applications.

Modern Li-ion cells (the ones that aren't even remotely pushing the safety envelope) are over 200 Wh/kg.

Re:Poor energy density (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687047)

Good sir! Since you're an EVE, and I'm an EE in training, I was wondering if you could answer a quick question for me. Would using a capacitor of significant size inline with a traction pack on a hybrid allow the motor to draw more current for short bursts without putting strain on the traction battery from heavy drain?

traction battery -> capacitor -> electric motor

Energy Density 180kJ/kg (3, Informative)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686393)

I calculated the energy density from Toshiba's specs for a module containing multiple cells plus some charging electronics. This works out to about twice the figure for a deep-cycle lead-acid car battery.

Tech Inversion (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686475)

It's a good thing they didn't have to use anions: Super Charge Anion Battery just might not make as good an acronym.

Re:Tech Inversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21687242)

They're competitors' marketing departments are sad that they won't be able to roll out their "Don't pick that SCAB!" slogan.

Batteriy capacity is NOT why the burn (5, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686531)

Ok, over and over again I see the same nonsense. "Lithium batteries burn because they contain lots of energy".

If this was the case a discharged battery would be safe, yet it contains just as much lithium as when it was charged, meaning it is still a fire hazard. The problem with lithium ion batteries is NOT their electrical energy density, it is the low activation energy of the chemicals they are made of.

To really put this in perspective, your cutlery and pots all contain A LOT of chemical potential energy. Burning iron in air releases vast quantities of it. Of course, because steel has a very good heat conductivity, and as the activation energy is high, you can't really set a piece of steel on fire at normal temperatures. If, on the other hand, you were to grind that iron into a fine powder, then you better make sure not to bring it close to sources of ignition as it will explode into a fireball.

Similarly, iron oxide doesn't burn in air because it is already oxidised, but if you mix it with aluminium powder, a strong reducing agent, then you got a Thermite mix which will burn at such a high temperature that it is little you can do but wait until it has completed. Even choking it doesn't work since it contains its own oxidiser.

The reason lithium ion batteries can catch fire is simply that lithium is easy to ignite. If the energy recoverable from a battery was directly related to how strongly it burns, then you would most certainly see batteries made from titanium or aluminium, and not lithium ( which releases a lot less energy when combusted than does many other metals ).

Re:Batteriy capacity is NOT why the burn (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687127)

Except that Lithium Ion batteries don't actually contain metallic lithium. They contain lithium ions -- ie, the lithium is already oxidized. That's true for both the charged and discharged state. Some other metal (cobalt traditionally, I think iron and a couple others are used in newer experimental chemistries) is being oxidized and reduced. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has more about the relevant electrochemistry.

Non-rechargable lithium cells (most 3V coin type cells) have metallic lithium. The rechargable chemistries don't, though -- hence the name lithium ion.

Are these the holy grail for home power gen? (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686833)

Interesting thought:


Let's say I have a biodiesel powered, water cooled generator (so that I can use the excess heat to warm my house or water or ?) or a wind-turbine, or some other peaking power source providing most of my house juice, along with a bank of these batteries. Plus the ability to use the house pack to charge a hybrid electric family vehicle with say a sixty mile range before I have to kick in the car's bio-diesel driven engine. Or vice versa: the vehicle's bio-diesel engine can be used to charge both the electrical drive train for the vehicle when on the road, or the home battery stack when the vehicle is plugged into the home's grid. This seems to be the ultimate win/win for home power.


The economic question is, "do I have to have tens of thousands of dollars of batteries to make this work, or will the batteries be cost effective and available for consumer use?"


What think ye?

the catch (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687332)

OK, if you have a 1 amp/hr battery that you want to charge in 5 minutes you have to provide
at least 12 amps of charging current (14 gauge wire). A laptop with a 5 amp/hr battery would require 60 Amps to
charge (That's 6 gauge wire needed!).
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