Is there anything this stuff can't do? Wonder material graphene could make an appearance in the batteries of consumer products as early as next year, according to materials firm Vorbeck.
Researchers at the company say that the carbon lattice can massively cut the amount of time it takes to recharge a lithium-ion cell – from two hours or so down to just 10 minutes. Other benefits include longer battery life, and lower operating temperatures.
Company president John Lettow told IDG “There are many problems with battery materials at present: they take a long time to charge and discharge, they do not store much energy, they have lower than desired cycle life, and they can heat up and short circuit, causing safety problems.”
A lithium-ion battery recharges by moving ions of lithium from the positive electrode (made of Lithium cobalt oxide) to the negative carbon electrode where they attach to the carbon and are stored. The rate at which this ion transfer can take place is limited by the material in the electrode, which is where the graphene comes in.
Lettow said his company will coat the electrode material with a layer of graphene. This will improve electron transport and storage, he said. And because it is an efficient conductor, batteries with graphene electrodes will not get as hot.