“It Charges 60 Times Faster Than Lithium-Ion …”

This sounds promising:

The graphene aluminum-ion battery cells from the Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) are claimed to charge up to 60 times faster than the best lithium-ion cells and hold three time the energy of the best aluminum-based cells.

They are also safer, with no upper Ampere limit to cause spontaneous overheating, more sustainable and easier to recycle, thanks to their stable base materials. Testing also shows the coin-cell validation batteries also last three times longer than lithium-ion versions.

GMG plans to bring graphene aluminum-ion coin cells to market late this year or early next year, with automotive pouch cells planned to roll out in early 2024.

Based on breakthrough technology from the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the battery cells use nanotechnology to insert aluminum atoms inside tiny perforations in graphene planes.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But good news, news about creative processes, only emerges gradually, as many – Matt Ridley to name just one – have pointed out. These batteries “are claimed” to speed up the charging process. And “automotive pouch cells” are merely “planned” to happen by a date that will hopefully be with us very soon. But things that are merely claimed or planned or just hoped-for do not necessarily happen, and certainly not always by the hoped-for date. So, if and when these batteries do end up happening, the fact that they have actually happened will be a distinct item of news. But, if and when it gets flagged up, this news item will not be that much of a revelation, because those who had already been following the story were seeing this end point of the process coming. Yeah yeah, better batteries. Cue the opinion pieces about how this is just technology as usual, with its inevitable carbon footprint, and which our children and grandchildren will mostly piss away by sending each other cat and dog videos or gibberish text messages on their dumbphones, blah blah blah.

Bad news, on the other hand, as often as not happens with one big explosion of horribleness. The badness of the news is not in doubt and everything happens all at once. A particular bit of the world goes, in one dramatic bang, from doing fine to Christ all bloody mighty what the hell was that? Hold the front page, and add opinion pieces saying that the entire world is going to hell.

Which is why, according to eyewitness accounts, the world has been going to hell ever since people got into the habit of recording such opinions. Nevertheless, opinions is all that these opinions have been. Luckily, it weren’t – and it ain’t – so.

4 thoughts on ““It Charges 60 Times Faster Than Lithium-Ion …””

  1. I wonder if, to charge batteries 60 times faster, the wire connecting the charger to the battery will have to be much thicker.

    Or possibly higher voltages will be used. In any case, the charging will be some sort of a challenge.

  2. That is exactly the kind of thing that slows the arrival of new tech. There are always more problems to be solved, with each new solution then causing a further problem or problems.

    I have no doubt that batteries along the lines described will happen, once those lines have been sorted out and once another dozen or more associated problems have been sorted. But chances are it will take a lot longer to scale up from mere prototype than was originally hoped, or at least proclaimed by the journos. Like Elon Musk says: that’s the really hard bit.

  3. Battery technology has improved and continues to, but unlike most of the other components of electronic devices, it does not follow Moore’s Law. So it is still slowish, no matter how much money is poured into it – and a *lot* of money has been poured into it in recent decades.

  4. The most mind boggling battery related thing I came across in recent years (2-3 years ago IIRC) is the fact that battery technology is getting to the point that storage systems are possibly now feasible at the power sub-station level. Which I think means a sub-station feeding on the rough order of 1000 locations (10,000?). I think the notion is that these are needed to make “green” sources more practical (no sun at night, no wind when you need it). Such will probably come in handy on Mars…although the nuclear reactor needed there should handle most any need they have!

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