Charging smartphones and electric cars for hours could soon be a thing of the past as MXene signals the arrival of a new generation of super batteries.
Smartphone owners know the technical restrictions of today’s energy storage systems only too well, since hours spent charging batteries has become a part of their daily routine. However, the latest experiments by researchers have shown that charging times can be reduced to just a matter of milliseconds. Researchers have been experimenting with using MXene to manufacture the electrodes required for energy storage. This nanomaterial is known for its highly conductive properties, which are generated by the material’s layered structure, in which oxides alternate with carbon-metal layers. As MXene has a porous surface, the ions that transfer the energy can penetrate the electrodes more easily than in conventional batteries. What’s more, the large number of openings means that more ions, and therefore more energy, can be absorbed. “This research will allow us to develop batteries that can be charged and discharged in seconds at the same time as storing more energy than conventional super capacitors,” says Research Group Leader Yury Gogotsi.
Could MXene be the breakthrough required to boost availability of electric cars?
Super capacitors are certainly the energy storage systems of the future, but they have had one major downside until now: Although they can be charged significantly faster and can also withstand more charging cycles than batteries, but they store only around 5 to 10 per cent of the energy provided by conventional batteries. MXene could signal a new generation of super capacitors with the high storage capacity required for continuous use.
These super capacitors could be the breakthrough required to boost availability of electric cars on the mass market. After all, the new energy storage systems will see manufacturers not only reducing charging times but also increasing the range of their electric vehicles. However, it remains to be seen whether MXene is suitable for use in larger batteries. Nevertheless, researchers remain optimistic and expect that this discovery will allow smartphones, laptops and all other mobile devices to be charged in minutes or even seconds in the near future.