Designed in the early 1900s to power electric vehicles, the Edison battery largely went out of favor in the mid-1970s. Today only a handful of companies manufacture nickel-iron batteries, primarily to store surplus electricity from solar panels and wind turbines.
“The Edison battery is very durable, but it has a number of drawbacks,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “A typical battery can take hours to charge, and the rate of discharge is also very slow.”
Now, Dai and his Stanford colleagues have dramatically improved the performance of this century-old technology. The Stanford team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 minutes and discharged in less than 30 seconds. The results are published in the June 26 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
“We have increased the charging and discharging rate by nearly 1,000 times,” said Stanford graduate student Hailiang Wang, lead author of the study. “We’ve made it really fast.”
The high-performance, low-cost battery could some day be used to help power electric vehicles, much as Edison originally intended, Dai said. “Hopefully we can give the nickel-iron battery a new life,” he added.
via Science Daily
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