2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

New "dual carbon" battery charges 20 times faster than Li-ion

By

May 19, 2014

A Japanese company has announced the development and planned mass-production of a disrupti...

A Japanese company has announced the development and planned mass-production of a disruptive dual carbon battery that can be charged twenty times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell (Image: Power Japan Plus)

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Japanese company Power Japan Plus has announced the development and planned mass-production of "Ryden," a disruptive carbon battery that can be charged 20 times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell. The battery, which is cheap to manufacture, safe, and environmentally friendly, could be ideal to improve the range and charging times of electric cars.

We've seen electric cars and motorbikes make huge strides forward in recent years. Up to a few years ago, electric vehicles were a synonym of peculiar designs, poor performance, and very low range; but now, more and more people associate them with instant torque and high performance. Further improving range, charging time, and cost would make electric vehicles an even more compelling product.

A new battery developed by Power Japan and Kyushu University promises that – and more. The researchers describe their battery as "dual carbon" since both electrodes are made out of carbon. They claim that their design not only has high energy density, but is also economical, very safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable. Most importantly, it can charge 20x faster than its Li-ion counterpart.

The battery employs carbon for both electrodes (Image: Power Japan Plus)
The battery employs carbon for both electrodes (Image: Power Japan Plus)

According to the company, their technology would allow you to charge the battery of a Nissan Leaf in 12 minutes instead of four hours. Because that battery has a capacity of 24 kWh, a back-of-the-envelope extrapolation would give us a charging time of 42 minutes for the 85 kWh battery of a top of the line Tesla Model S.

Power Japan also claims that their battery has energy density comparable to state of the art lithium-ion, with manufacturing costs that are equal or lower. This is because carbon, which is widely available in nature, is the only active ingredient, and the batteries can fit into a standard 18650 cell (the one used in laptops and electric cars), requiring no significant change to existing manufacturing lines.

Further characteristics that make it particularly suitable for electric cars are a long lifetime of 3,000 charge/discharge cycles (Li-ion's life is closer to 1,000 cycles) and the ability to discharge fully without the risk of short-circuiting and damaging the battery. Moreover, the battery doesn't heat up, so it wouldn't require the extensive cooling systems that appear in current electric cars. Thermal stability also makes the battery much safer, because it eliminates the risk of thermal runaway, which can cause explosions. And it would be more powerful than other batteries, operating at over four volts.

The company is developing its own organic carbon material for the batteries (Image: Power ...
The company is developing its own organic carbon material for the batteries (Image: Power Japan Plus)

The battery would also be highly sustainable, as it is fully recyclable. Power Japan is planning to produce the battery using an organic carbon complex, developed in-house from organic cotton, to obtain a greater control over the size of the carbon crystals in its electrodes.

Power Japan is planning to start production of 18650 dual carbon cells later this year for specialty applications such as medical devices and satellites, and they plan to license the technology to other companies for use in electric vehicles.

The video below illustrates the advantages of the battery.

Source: Power Japan Plus

About the Author
Dario Borghino Dario studied software engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin. When he isn't writing for Gizmag he is usually traveling the world on a whim, working on an AI-guided automated trading system, or chasing his dream to become the next European thumbwrestling champion.   All articles by Dario Borghino
51 Comments

Confusing. They say that carbon is the "only active material" in the battery. But it shows lithium being used, in the illustration photo and similarly in the video as well, between the anode and cathode, presumptively in the electrolyte. So this strictly speaking really a type of lithium ion battery, no? Since actually Li ions are moving back and forth?

HerrDrPantagruel
19th May, 2014 @ 05:07 pm PDT

Not that I'm going to hold my breath for this, but I REALLY hope it delivers as promised!

DaveKDEN
19th May, 2014 @ 05:32 pm PDT

What? No idiot screaming that 'Big Oil' is going to buy this and hide the formula in Warehouse 13; after killing the inventors in mysterious 'accidents'.

Welcome to the 2014 of conspiracy busters. Everything, all the time means you can not hide good stuff, nor is there any reason to try.

Robert Walther
19th May, 2014 @ 05:59 pm PDT

I really hope that more breakthroughs like this keep appearing.

The old lead-acid batteries are losing to modern tech, and hurrah for that.

Now if the price can be kept to affordable, sainthood may be not too far around the corner (or at least an OBE).

The Skud
19th May, 2014 @ 07:37 pm PDT

Come on Gizmag. Give us a bit more technical information - like how does this battery create a potential difference across two electrodes made of the same material?

Tony Morris
19th May, 2014 @ 10:13 pm PDT

Easy there Robert Walther, take your meds and do not take the scary red pill. There is plenty going on beyond "Big Oil" but it is nice to hear a carbon based battery is shaping up. However it does not look like we will see it soon unless we purchase a vehicle, satellite or higher end medical devices.

eMike
19th May, 2014 @ 10:15 pm PDT

Like eMike says it is not very likely to see it soon, and I'd like to add EVEN IF we buy an electric vehicle. This is a laboratory sample, while all the EV manufacturers have already secured long term contracts with 'classic' Li-Ion suppliers, so there is still a long piece of road ahead until a new tech like this will make it to the streets.

Still I think this is an exciting development worth watching. I hope they become available when the battery pack currently in my electric car will be about to die.

martinkopplow
20th May, 2014 @ 01:45 am PDT

@Robert Walther, this comes out of Japan, Big Oil doesn't have quite the same power there as in the US.

MattII
20th May, 2014 @ 02:01 am PDT

Regardless of how much they promise us peak oil is still not here, "Big Oil" is becoming "Smaller Oil" every day. The UK is a good example. Just follow the money (and not the oil companies) if you really want to understand how this world works. This is another compelling reason why to speed up any and all alternative energy research, although if I know our world well enough, all this new technology will also be taxed heavily once it becomes mainstream.

eMike
20th May, 2014 @ 02:09 am PDT

HerrDrPantagruel: "Ryden Dual Carbon Batteries use carbon as both the anode and cathode, with an as-yet-unidentified organic electrolyte containing lithium ions". Unidentified by whom?.....I want to believe this is real. FYI, these types of batteries were conceived over 40 years ago but research stopped when they could not deliver any meaningful output relative to prevailing technologies so maybe there is hope.

Brendan Dunphy
20th May, 2014 @ 04:09 am PDT

The usual lack of sensible reporting! "Carbon is the only active material," but the battery contains lithium. Come on - you won't get any potential difference between 2 carbon electrodes, let alone 4 volts. This is another lithium battery, but with a different electrode structure.

The charging rate sounds impressive but charging a Leaf battery (assumed 400v.) in 12 minutes would take 360 Amps - assuming 100% efficiency (which it isn't) - quite a big current to handle. Hardly for use at home.

GeoffG
20th May, 2014 @ 04:50 am PDT

As with any emerging technology progress is made in small increments and major breakthroughs. This is exactly what we are seeing in electric cars, motorcycles and other devices.

Not a week goes b when I do not read of either an advancement in the technology r another manufacturer entering the field. Only this week, I have read about Jaguar announcing a new kind of hybrid car. It has an electric motor in each wheel, a micro turbine-driven charger, and dashing looks and performance.

James Smith
20th May, 2014 @ 05:07 am PDT

I think this is not only green but cool. I think it would boost sales of electric vehicles if the owner does not have to wait a long time to recharge the battery.

I think this would make for a great hydrogen fuel cell / battery hybrid.

BigGoofyGuy
20th May, 2014 @ 05:47 am PDT

Let us not get too excited about charging times. Shorter times mean higher amperage. Plugging in two electric cars at the same time in the same neighborhood might be a significant challenge for the electric circuitry in the area. There is probably an electrical engineer out there that could calculate the wire size needed to handle the load. You could migitage the general load (but not the local one) by scheduling charging during the night, but then the short charge time only benefits those who are first in line. For a smaller device like a laptop, a quick charge may be pulling the same load as a hair dryer or toaster, so maybe not a big concern in that case.

Bruce H. Anderson
20th May, 2014 @ 08:29 am PDT

Bruce raises a good point that will become irrelevant over time and maybe not that much time. Essentially, rolling out any new large scale thing involves a cascading set of chicken & egg problems. When VCRs or PCs were new there were legitimate questions about how worthy were they.

After all, initially there were only a handful of movies on tape. Enabling VCRs meant that movie & TV studios had to get on board fast. They did.

Same with broader use of electric vehicles. As the market expands charging stations with super capacitor storage will charge from slower sources like the grid, (which also will progressively be enhanced), or wind, or solar cells, or whatever. Then vehicles will rapidly suck that juice up and be on their way. The net effect on any local scale will be small. The point is more than one or two innovations will be needed to create a smooth seamless, ubiquitous end state.

StWils
20th May, 2014 @ 09:13 am PDT

I've been waiting for "Better" batteries for a while so I'm not going to start drooling quite yet BUT this world be terrific for photovoltaic energy storage in off-the-grid household applications, or so it seems. Tell us more! I'm gonna start web-crawling for more info. Thanks, Gizmag, kudos!

Wanzewurld
20th May, 2014 @ 09:51 am PDT

Dual carbon electrodes? Really? The diagram shows Li+ on a carbon (graphite?) base and likewise 'A-' (?) on the other carbon base so it isn't really a dual carbon battery is it?

James Oss
20th May, 2014 @ 10:37 am PDT

Hmmm ... no downsides, except maybe cost. TGTBT??

ccguy
20th May, 2014 @ 11:34 am PDT

If this is all they say it is, it will be the most disruptive technology in battery in history.

Dave Andrews
20th May, 2014 @ 11:50 am PDT

Simple math and the formula p=ie will tell you that the vast majority of houses in the USA will not be able to support charging of an electric car at 1/20th the time necessary for standard charging.

Look. Electricity isn't magic. To get the electricity out, you need to put it in first! If the standard electric car (ford or nissan) is about 23KW-hr, then we're looking at a current draw from the house mains at 13+ amps over a constant 8-10 hours and that's at 240 volts!...most normal houses cannot sustain this current over this length of time. I guess this is why electric car companies tell you you need a dedicated circuit...

Now, at 20 times the speed, something has to go up 20 times...either the current draw or the voltage. But something has to give. I don't know about you, but my house has a 200 amp circuit panel. To charge a car at 20 times the speed would require 260 amps over the full length of the charging cycle...yikes! that kind of power would make one's hair stand on end...literally! Of course a custom power conduit can be installed to your house (at $15-$20K) but imagine if half a dozen of your neighbors had this car, on a hot, above 100 degree summer day (or night)...ACs all going full blast and 6 electric cars start to charge for the night...talk about your rolling brownouts!

Ed
20th May, 2014 @ 12:06 pm PDT

StWils, same thing i've been screaming for years...anyone remember fulton's folly from high school history?

billybob1851
20th May, 2014 @ 12:11 pm PDT

I think Mr Boeing might like to have a look at this, considering all the battery problems that they have had recently.

Mr Bruce H Anderson makes the point that we just don't have a grid large enough to service any major expansion of the electric car fleet. I would add: nor one structured properly to support much in the way of renewables power generation, especially off-shore wind turbines. However, if these batteries can be made as cheaply as they claim, perhaps they might provide the means to store intermittent renewable power and thus assist the grid in coping with them.

As for Peak Oil, that seems to have happened circa 2005 for conventional oil, with peak fracked oil not far off. Even if that is incorrect, the EROEI figures are plummeting, which basically means that we are in trouble, no matter what handle we put on the issue. Perhaps now is the time for the Greens to stop all the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the very mention of the word 'nuclear' and lend their support for LFTR technology. All the grid problems would be solved if we could only have small modular LFTR reactors widely distributed. (Any chance, Gizmag, of repeating your excellent article appraising the nuclear power generation issue, which included small modular reactors?)

Who knows? With any luck, we might even soon reach the stage where we can have electric trucks and tractors, which would go some way towards solving the problems of growing and distributing enough food for the masses soon to be on this little planet of ours.

Mel Tisdale
20th May, 2014 @ 12:23 pm PDT

Why wasn't this invented before? Didn't anyone find a way to use a carbon battery ?

Sanket Shah
20th May, 2014 @ 12:31 pm PDT

Just gimme the stock symbol...

Shl

slonis888
20th May, 2014 @ 01:11 pm PDT

24 kwh in 12 minutes requires 120,000 amperes divided by the battery module voltage. Still sounds like a bunch. If you could find a source of this current it would probably explode the battery module before it could be cooled. Sounds like a challenging problem.

Ronald Chappell
20th May, 2014 @ 01:21 pm PDT

A syntax comment: "organic cotton". Is there an inorganic cotton??

Also if all of the coal plants are closed where is all of this wonderful non polluting electricity going to be created? Maybe there will be outlets in our caves hooked up to the earth's core.

Greatbasin
20th May, 2014 @ 01:56 pm PDT

So you think that a bunch of cars on some sort of smart charging system in a neighborhood would overload the grid. And that's because you are expecting that everyone charge their car off of the grid, rather than off of energy stored in batteries or capacitors at their homes, or at local stations. I assure you that the infrastructure of charging some cars would not be a problem unless it literally happened overnight.

Marc Stinebaugh
20th May, 2014 @ 06:35 pm PDT

Quick chargers for the Leaf and Tesla are already able to charge in close to those times. There are quite a bit of other advantages being touted.. we'll see. There were lots of stories like this from years ago that we never heard about a second time.

Doug Liser
20th May, 2014 @ 06:59 pm PDT

To all the folks screaming that it will overload the grid, just because it can charge super fast does not mean it has to. When the car is parked for the evening or after you get to work it can be trickle charged over several hours, but when you need a quick top up at the charging station you can get half a charge in 5 minutes.

Michaelc
20th May, 2014 @ 09:33 pm PDT

I don't know much about this carbon battery , but do you see the power created by your regular lead acid battery . It packs a lot of power and is recharged quickly by your home current . Its drawback is duration of holding electricity , and amounts of repeated charging cycles .

Couldn't the machinery that we use this energy be nano- sized , as in smaller motors stepped electrically and mechanically to give us more range . Or can the batteries be made so that the sacrificial parts are reengineered or replaced easily by the consumer ? ..

Gianfranco Fronzi
20th May, 2014 @ 11:09 pm PDT

In Scandinavia most homes are wired to handle electrical heating and even an outside car radiator heater, so it seems that the north of Europe is somewhat ready for this. However the cold temperatures wreak havoc on many batteries.

eMike
21st May, 2014 @ 01:32 am PDT

So many people seem to have lost sight of one simple fact; everything changes and in particular technology. Also, the rate at which technology is changing is constantly increasing.

The next generation, 30 years hence, will not be able to comprehend today's world.

Electrical power storage is going to transform our lives.

My son's grandchildren (big assumption) will view the late 20th early 21st century in much the same way we think of Roman times.

Pat Pending
21st May, 2014 @ 02:42 am PDT

@Ronald Chappell;

"24 kwh in 12 minutes requires 120,000 amperes divided by the battery module voltage."

Can you show your maths for that? I'm struggling.

Pat Pending
21st May, 2014 @ 03:25 am PDT

I think they mean, 12 X 4 = 48 minutes to charge the Leaf . It seems to me that this mew battery charges like a capacitor, capacitors charge to full charge in a mater of seconds.

If indeed this is the case, our world is in for a big change. gas prices will fall and then rise again, as fuels are phased out.

My question is how much does it weigh ?

Jay Finke
21st May, 2014 @ 07:33 am PDT

Ed, I don't think that most people at home would be interested in charging their car in 12 minutes or 45 minutes, so the inadequate home power system doesn't matter. But a quick charge makes taking trips in an electric car manageable. You stop for lunch or a bathroom break and your car can be fully recharged. And yes they will have to create these new charge stations, but they also had to create 'gas' stations at one time.

mike65401
21st May, 2014 @ 09:38 am PDT

HerrDrPantagruel said: "Confusing. They say that carbon is the "only active material" in the battery. But it shows lithium being used, in the illustration photo and similarly in the video as well, between the anode and cathode, presumptively in the electrolyte. So this strictly speaking really a type of lithium ion battery, no?"

— NO:

"Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as the electrode material,"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

Israel Navas Duran
21st May, 2014 @ 10:44 am PDT

How are the Japanese going to charge these with all their Nuke Plants shut down?? The courts there rejected a start-up plan and Nukes provide 30% of their power...

James Brennan
21st May, 2014 @ 01:45 pm PDT

Like most other energy/battery inventions, this one won't make it to market, or if it does it will cost so much that nobody will buy it.

Unless it is heavily subsidized by gov't (that means higher taxes for all of us).

robo
21st May, 2014 @ 03:06 pm PDT

"a back-of-the-envelope extrapolation would give us a charging time of 42 minutes for the 85 kWh battery of a top of the line Tesla Model S."

Um...

How about "a back-of-the-envelope extrapolation" of the current involved, and the rating of the supply needed?

Has anyone any idea of the consequences of a failure of a system at that sort of load?

It strikes me someone somewhere is living in a fantasy world!

Catweazle
22nd May, 2014 @ 11:48 am PDT

This is a revolutionary step! Congratulations to Power Japan Plus. There are a lot of powerful people and companies who will lose by this development. They will hope you fail...they will do everything to make you fail...But Mother Nature thanks you...and everyone who sends money to the Middle East for oil should thank you.

Now we need a similar breakthrough in Residential Solar Panels...say 50% to 80% efficiency.

M&M
23rd May, 2014 @ 12:10 pm PDT

For all of those wondering how this will be charged at the fast rate they claim, it's very feasible - it works out to a power input of 120 kilowatts. (24kWh in 12 min). That's the equivalent of 160 hoursepower, which is not a big deal electrically as there are literally millions and millions of motors this size in the world.

So while you may not be able to charge at this rate at home, a "gas" station could be set up for this easily.

4abetterworld
26th May, 2014 @ 07:25 pm PDT

So many new battery technologies yet out of our reach to date.

gseattle
26th May, 2014 @ 11:16 pm PDT

@4abetterworld: Are you suggesting that a 160 bhp gasoline powered engine driving a generator could be used to charge your electric car? It could of course - but that would virtually negate the entire reason for having an electric car.

Seems to me the only way to get a very fast charge at home is to use some sort of electricity storage system, such as a home-based battery or super capacitor which is charged at a slow rate 24 hours/day, and used to disgorge it's entire contents in a few minutes into the electric car battery. At present costs, the whole system would still be so expensive that it would be uneconomic.

GeoffG
27th May, 2014 @ 01:46 am PDT

Some people need to chillax and lay off the sceptical attitudes in these comment sections. Just wait and see. You will be convinced of the impact these improved battery technologies have on our lives (and they are already doing!). The change will be incremental, but it will be huge.

It really is no coincidence that massive investment in battery technologies has sprung up over the last decade. It is a lucrative business with a lot at stake.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
31st May, 2014 @ 09:43 am PDT

The over-dramatic narrator and repeated emphasis on Organic Cotton make me think that these batteries will be *really* expensive and not very common.

Ron Johnson
12th June, 2014 @ 05:17 am PDT

If it "doesn't heat up" the really big news is the high efficiency, to my mind. Any size should have the same charging time, if the power can be delivered.

Bob Stuart
21st June, 2014 @ 12:36 am PDT

Electric vehicles only need to be fast charged on their way somewhere, on a long trip. If you use you EV to commute to work or do the school run or go to the shops, as most of us do, then you don't need to fast charge. Your EV can charge at a lower rate for longer while it's parked overnight.

What batteries like these will do is eliminate Range Anxiety, which is what is holding a lot of us back from owning EVs. The lower thermal output and longer lifetime of these batteries will further encourage EV manufacturers to purchase these batteries, making them cheaper for all of us.

Alastair Mackay-James
11th July, 2014 @ 12:11 am PDT

This is an amazing breakthrough (if It's true), I don't care how you look at it. But......I'll believe it when I see a flashlight powered with these "batteries". Now, if they can just figure out how to split an electric car's charging system into a quad charge bringing the charging time down to 10-1/2 min. I'll be impressed. Sitting at a charging station for the better part of an hr. is still too long.

noteugene
11th July, 2014 @ 08:37 pm PDT

Yeah, what gets my curiosity up the most is this business about using carbon for both electrodes. Unless one or both of them are doped like the silicon in a transistor, how can there be any voltage difference between them? What could possibly keep each pole positive or negative? Unless it's a close cousin to the monopole magnet, a monopole battery!! Or maybe it's an AC battery like the AC capacitor I just ordered on eBay from Nigeria last night. They promised me that it would be here yesterday morning already.

The term "organic" is bandied about so often and so often incorrectly, it has lost almost all meaning.

Randy

Expanded Viewpoint
30th July, 2014 @ 06:40 pm PDT

@Ed - 13A continuously is not a problem for a 240VAC circuit. Ring mains circuits use a 32A circuit breaker normally giving a theoretical 32A supply... continuously! But in any event, the LEAF standard home charging cable only pulls 10A and as you very rarely get home with an empty battery pack (mine is usually 30-45% and my EV only has a 16kWh pack with a 45 mile daily commute) it'll almost always be fully charged by the end of the cheap night rate.

For whoever it was interested in the 'math'...

The LEAF has a 24000Wh pack at a nominal 360V.

24000/0.2 (0.2h = 12 minutes) = 120kW supply at 360V.

120000/360 = 333A.

Unfortunately the charging cable conductors would need to be about 14mm in diameter for this much current which would not be practical so some form of direct connection would be required and a pretty chunky one at that.

Localized storage would be the obvious solution to overcoming the huge power requirements.

Everything is quite feasible technically, I just have to question why we would be bothered? As it is, Tesla cells can take a Model S (a luxury and spacious saloon by anyone's measure) 250 - 300 miles on a charge and their existing SuperChargers can fully recharge said S in 75 minutes. Where is the practical problem with that - drive for 3 - 4 hours, take an hours break... seems like a sensible way to do a long journey to me.

Let's concentrate on getting the cost of batteries down to one which makes the purchase cost of an EV equal to or cheaper than a comparable ICE car first... MW

Martin Winlow
19th September, 2014 @ 01:26 am PDT

Gosh, where would we be if we didn't have people in comments sections doing math to prove how new tech breakthrus are impossible?

I thought Tesla shut you people up with their Superchargers.

Tysto
19th September, 2014 @ 03:26 pm PDT
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