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Nanodot-based smartphone battery that recharges in 30 seconds

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April 7, 2014

Israeli startup StoreDot has showcased a prototype of a new smartphone battery that can re...

Israeli startup StoreDot has showcased a prototype of a new smartphone battery that can reportedly recharge in just under 30 seconds (Photo: StoreDot)

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Today at Microsoft’s Think Next symposium in Tel Aviv, Israeli startup StoreDot has demonstrated the prototype of a nanodot-based smartphone battery it claims can fully charge in just under 30 seconds. With the company having plans for mass production, this technology could change the way we interact with portable electronics, and perhaps even help realize the dream of a fast-charging electric car.

As we all know only too well, recharging our portable electronics can take a painfully long time. This is because reversing the chemical reactions that caused the battery to deplete is a process that can hardly be rushed, for considerations of both safety and energy efficiency.

But now, a radically new battery design advanced by StoreDot could bring charge times down to the order of a few seconds. The company produces so-called nanodots, chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules that, thanks to their small size, improve electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance. The end result is batteries that can be fully charged in seconds rather than hours.

'In essence, we have developed a new generation of electrodes with new materials – we call it MFE – Multi Function Electrode," StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf told Gizmag. "On one side it acts like a supercapacitor (with very fast charging), and on the other is like a lithium electrode (with slow discharge). The electrolyte is modified with our nanodots in order to make the multifunction electrode more effective."

The company says that unlike other nanodot and quantum-dot technologies that are heavy metal based, making them toxic, its nanodots are made from a vast range of bio-organic raw materials that are environmentally-friendly. These materials are also naturally abundant, and the nanodots employ a basic biological mechanism of self-assembly, making them cheap to manufacture.

Self-discharge characteristics are similar to those of lithium-ion cells and, for its first prototype, the company targeted the approximate capacity of a smartphone battery (around 2,000 mAh).

But Myersdorf told us that the technology could also be adapted to electric cars, by modifying the electrode so it could sustain higher currents (and, of course, configuring a large number of cells in parallel).

StoreDot is in the process of submitting patents for the technology, and mass production of the smartphone batteries is planned for late 2016.

The video below illustrates just how quickly the battery can be recharged.

Source: StoreDot

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
25 Comments

I think this has a wide range of uses and a lot of potential. It would make hybrids use electric power more than the gas engine. It would be a boost for anything that is battery powered.

BigGoofyGuy
7th April, 2014 @ 05:53 am PDT

This huge, woohoo if they can make large units for storing solar energy cheaply and cleanly. I'll hold off bying my electric car for a couple of years until this avail!

livin_the_dream
7th April, 2014 @ 06:16 am PDT

Need this sooner rather than later, shut down big polluters like the tar sands and coal generating stations ......... yes!

Rehab
7th April, 2014 @ 07:21 am PDT

nice fake app.

How about real voltmeter data?

iperov
7th April, 2014 @ 08:12 am PDT

@Rehab - you cannot just shut down whatever you want. Thousands of people would end up on a street... The change process will take decades, unfortunately. Maybe in 3 generations people will look at the coal power plants or combustion engines like on relicts but nothing will change during one night.

Dziks
7th April, 2014 @ 08:20 am PDT

Hmmm.... I'm a bit surprised. Unless this technology just all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere, then why would Elon Musk propose a $5 billion Lithium based battery factory? He must be aware of this technology. My thoughts are that Musk's engineer's looked at it but it was many years off before it could be used for automobiles. That said.. it is still a "game changer". Lets cross our fingers and hope this technology can pack a lot of energy and also recharge quickly.

DLaw
7th April, 2014 @ 08:56 am PDT

This could be one more nail in the 'lets burn stuff to make power' mentality and it's made from organic materials, awesome!

LordInsidious
7th April, 2014 @ 10:20 am PDT

@Rehab, Sadly this will do nothing to shut down existing power generation as you still have to get the energy from somewhere to charge these new batteries. Moving to electric cars just changes where the pollution is generated and ideally since large generation plants can be more efficient then individual cars reducing that pollution. Solar would be great but it's efficiency and cost of investment still doesn't it make it a viable replacement for other fuels yet.

Dragon_Elder
7th April, 2014 @ 11:20 am PDT

Yes, as Dragon_Elder explains write, it won't change anything on the energy consumption. Whether you need 2 hours or 30 seconds to charge an accu, it still takes practically the same amount of energy.

The parameters of SoreDot sound promising, but I remain skeptical. The description tells nothing about the technology, they just put together all latest fashion words like nanotechnology, nanodots, bio, organic, supercapacitor, cheap, abundant,... without any explanation on the way it is supposed to improve the electrodes and electrolyte. I hope I am wrong, but it sounds more like an investor scam than anything else.

Beside it, if the accu of 2,000 mAh is supposed to be as big as the prototype on their video (about ten times the volume of the phone), then it would not be better than current supercapacitors already are (unless it is much cheaper and simpler to manufacture).

txt295
7th April, 2014 @ 12:08 pm PDT

Now what does it cost, $/kWh? I like the renewable aspect of it. We will soon see more novel battery concepts being developed and hopefully, commercialized. Let us see how those compares to this and older battery technologies.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
7th April, 2014 @ 02:07 pm PDT

Sounds great! Made from abundant organic raw materials - good stuff!

I'd be *very* keen to buy an electric car that used these batteries. Out with rare and pricey lithium, in with these!

mooseman
7th April, 2014 @ 06:13 pm PDT

This whole thing sound good. However in order to charge a 2,000 mAh battery for 30s you will need to have a source that will deliver 240A of current at a minimum, assuming 100% charging efficiency. I would like to see the wire gauge that can deliver this kind of current without evaporating. The wires that connect the charger and the the wires that are inside the phone leading to the battery will have to be quire thick. Additionally a typical Li-ion battery has nominal voltage of 3V. 240A at 3V means that the power supply to charge the phone should be at least 720 Watt. Again assuming 100%. In reality most likely 1 kW. Current charging power supplies cost within $10 and have typical power of 3 to 10W. The cost of 1 kW 120VAC to 5V DC power supply will be at least $150 to $200.

So the phone itself will be mainly copper wires and the power supply will be weighting 3 to 6lb.

I don't want even to go into calculations about electric car batteries. 30s charge will emit such an Electromagnetic Pulse, that will be equivalent to small nuclear explosion.

I don't know this sounds very fishy.

Tom Brown
7th April, 2014 @ 06:14 pm PDT

Totally bogus.

2000mah in 30s is 240amps - you would need a cable as big and thick as a car jumper lead to carry that current - the fake cable in the video would vaporize with that much current going through it.

christopher
7th April, 2014 @ 09:05 pm PDT

Agree...what's that on the back of the phone a transformer? Something isn't being explained here and it could be that we have a materials issue that hasn't been solved. I believe that the video showed a Euro 240 Volt plug-in which may not have been stepped down - depending on where the battery actually resided i.e., in the device on the back of the phone.

Good progress but please show us what's behind the curtain.

Mirmillion
8th April, 2014 @ 02:30 am PDT

You could have a separate charging station with sufficient capacity to deal with the increased load and then transfer the charged battery to whatever device is required. You could also charge batteries at times of lowest demand on the grid. This is an objective of many players in the energy market already. The ability to take advantage of lower cost power at times of day of lowest demand spreads the load over 24 hours.

Geoffrey Berry
8th April, 2014 @ 03:11 am PDT

Of course this will not change anything about consumption! This is about the ability to recharge a battery quickly.... just like filling up a gas tank. In theory it may be possible to build a motorway with copper coils and then place magnets on the cars. Basically reuse the energy of the car's movement. One could wirelessly recharge the batteries of the car with the electricity it generates.

DLaw
8th April, 2014 @ 08:43 am PDT

Regardless of what is shown on this site, there are always so many negative comments. Or, comments which say whatever is being shown is fake without any substantiation.

steveraxx
8th April, 2014 @ 09:25 am PDT

The implications for renewable energy are great. The problem with renewable energy (solar, wind) are that they are intermittent. The answer is to store energy during peak production (bursts of wind, bright sun) in batteries. This can take a lot of batteries because each one can only take a certain amount of energy at once. If this works, fewer batteries can absorb the extra energy. That translates into cheaper energy storage, hence the whole process of solar and wind get cheaper. In a related issue, many coal plants are kept going 24/7 at low capacity so they will be ready to step in during a sudden energy demand. These could be shut down if energy could be stored.

One thing they did not talk about in this article is how fast the energy can be discharged. Again, if it can be discharged as fast as it is charged, the number of batteries used in any application, like cars or storing renewable energy, can go down. Very important.

Leithauser
8th April, 2014 @ 09:53 am PDT

Again, what is shown on the picture is totally bogus. Either the demo battery is not 2000mAh or the charging can't be 30s. The cables shown can't possibly carry the needed current for the battery to be fully charged. As somebody mentioned above they will need cables like car jumper cable. The mains supply voltage is irrelevant because before delivered to the 3V battery it has to be stepped down to ~5V and converted to DC or at least pulsed one directional. And again the current should be at least 240A. You can't circumvent physics in this case.

And any converter from AC mains (120, 220, 230 or 250V) that is capable of delivering 240A will be bulky. If you have been to Autozone for battery test and jump start you probably have seen their Power module that is capable of giving jump start using 120VAC. The thing has to be wheeled to the car. Maybe for charging the cell phone will be a little bit smaller but not that much.

Come on gizmag you should do better in critically reporting.

Tom Brown
8th April, 2014 @ 01:37 pm PDT

There has to be a lot of technology which cannot be advertised and give the game away in the process...

These guys have been working on something potentially promising...give them room to work on their ideas and problems and look forward to what comes through.... There has to be a possibility of a recharge cycle that will reverse polarise the contents of the battery using minimal power within the speculated 30 second charge time... There has to be some process that will recharge a battery using a short sharp charge process ....We will know soon enough....PATIENCE

Maaen
8th April, 2014 @ 04:00 pm PDT

Leithauser, good point however you are wrong about starting up and shutting down coal fired power stations. This is a very big deal and takes months of planning to achieve for routine maintenance. Even dialling down a coal fired power plant is immensely problematic as the MASSIVE turbine is designed for a particular steam output.

I think the 30s charge time has been taken out of context for wider application. If batteries can be charged more efficiently it means that the overall battery bank size for a particular application can be reduced. Instead of a battery taking hours to charge, maybe it takes 30 mins. What if a car had a roof entirely made of PV cells? It could deliver more charge to the batter and improve the energy balance? The car could completely charge when it was left in car park while the owner was at work???

The important questions to ask in a battery utility sense are; what is the nominal charge rate per Ah of storage, and what number of energy can be achieved for any given depth of discharge. Additionally, what if a family home could have their own battery bank which was significantly smaller that what's required with existing RAP systems as well as being more affordable. A suitable RAP energy system for a family home which uses on average 10 kWh of energy per day would cost over $70k. A large bulk of this cost is associated with the batteries.If this could be halved or better then the idea of self sufficient energy supply becomes a reality.

Like others, I'm dubious as to whether the claims are a little far fetched but if it's even remotely true the implications are far reaching. Also, don't forget that renewables are a perfect market substitute for fossil fuels. As demand for coal power subsides and demand for renewables rises, the over supply of coal would lower coal power prices. It is because of this supply and demand cycle that coal power will always be in the mix for many decades to come. The same rings true for transport fuel.

Aaryn Johansen
8th April, 2014 @ 06:04 pm PDT

2,000 mAh battery = 2 amp hours at around 3.7v.

2 amp hours in 30 seconds is 120 Ah per hour. So it would probably actually need a 240A supply, to account for electromagnetic losses. It would definitely need some heavy duty (and very short) cables.

In reality, it would charge in about 10 minutes in order reduce these issues by a factor of twenty and also get better efficiency. But there is a greater problem... if it's cheap, "nobody will allow for it" (just as "nobody" allowed for molten salt nuclear, diamond hard razor blades or the prevention of planned obsolescence).

Robert Bernal
8th April, 2014 @ 09:22 pm PDT

Power = Current x Voltage; what if you raised the voltage, to keep the current low..

Oskars Bormanis
8th April, 2014 @ 11:01 pm PDT

You wouldn't need so many batteries if it charged in 30 seconds. At least in a car. So even if they were bigger it wouldn't be a problem. 4-5 hours of drive time would be fine, enough for a 2 hour commute each way. If you have to stop off to charge its no big deal.

For phones, it has to be small and last a long time.

fenshwey
9th April, 2014 @ 07:42 am PDT

So in essence, it's a supercapacitor with a lithium battery.

There are at least half a dozen ideas like this, even one from a 14-year old.

I wonder why hasn't anyone created a nice battery-booster "add-on" for the smartphones.

hyperspaced
17th April, 2014 @ 04:41 am PDT
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