Categories: Environment

Electric car: this discovery could revolutionize charging

Researchers have found that with short breaks, it is possible to charge at high power without compromising battery performance.

Charging a battery (whether an electric car or a smartphone) at high power is obviously an undeniable time saver, but it is also the best way to accelerate the deterioration of the battery in question. For what ? Quite simply because the cells are subjected to greater “stress” and performance is likely to degrade more quickly in the long term.

This is actually the main problem with fast charging for electric cars today. But things could change in the future thanks to a discovery by several Italian scientists. According to the researchers, and following tests carried out in the laboratory, it would indeed be possible, in the future, to reload high power batteries while not altering their long-term performance.

Slow down aging

It was Professor Antonio Bertei and researcher Marco Lagnoni, both chemical engineers at the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering at the University of Pisa, who made the announcement. Our two protagonists are the authors of a study published in Nature Communications, in which other scientists from eight different international institutes also participated.

The team studied the impact of fast charging on batteries and found that it caused a deposit of lithium metal on the surface of the graphite anode. This phenomenon, also known as “lithium plating”, is the cause of a drop in battery performance.

But this phenomenon is reversible to a large extent, since lithium metal can be reabsorbed. In doing so, battery performance is only minimally affected and ultimately battery aging is significantly slowed down.

Recharging breaks, the miracle solution?

Antonio Bertei said: “The fast charging capacity, range and safety of lithium-ion batteries are the factors that most influence the market penetration of electric vehicles today. But thanks to the results of our study, these limitations could be overcome in the years to come. Our research allowed us to quantify the mechanisms that worsen aging during rapid charging of lithium-ion batteries using graphite electrodes.he explains.

“We also showed that the electrode can reabsorb it, which slows down the aging of the battery. Simply schedule breaks at certain load levels. So much so that colleagues and I coined the motto ‘wait to be faster’ to describe the approach that should inspire the development of the advanced fast-charging protocols of the future designed for next-generation automotive batteries »added Marco Lagnoni.

It remains to be seen whether, in real conditions, this discovery will be as “revolutionary” as announced. We can then imagine the manufacturers putting in place a new charging protocol for the batteries of their electric carsby programming certain “voluntary” power drops during recharging to avoid too rapid deterioration of the accumulators.

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