Estimating Particle Placement to Improve Batteries

Guest_Jim_* - October 10, 2012 10:10AM in Science & Technology

Many people see electric vehicles as a means to achieving a carbon neutral society, but there are many, many challenges to overcome before that can be accomplished. Among them is improvements to the batteries used, lithium ion, because while batteries can store a lot of energy, they can take a long time to charge. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed some new algorithms though that should greatly help reduce charge time and improve efficiency.

Batteries store energy by holding ions, in this case lithium ions, in certain spots, including within the anode. Knowing where the ions are allows the battery to be more efficiently used and gives a way to monitor its health, but this is hard to achieve with the simple voltage and current monitoring of modern batteries. What the researchers have done though is developed algorithms which estimate where the ions are and thus improve efficiency and charging times. In one instance the researchers were able to charge a battery in just 15 minutes. Not as fast as filling up a tank of gas, but a significant improvement none-the-less.

Two companies are already working with the researchers to further develop these algorithms; Bosch and Cobasys. Bosch is an automotive products supplier and Cobasys manufacturers batteries.