NextBigFuture bigs up the Rice University researchers who added a pinch of asphalt and graphene to their batteries to create a high-capacity power source that that charges up 20 times faster – and potentially lasts longer – than the lithium-ion batteries in your phones, tablets and whatnot:
The Rice lab of chemist James Tour developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that showed exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles.
“The capacity of these batteries is enormous, but what is equally remarkable is that we can bring them from zero charge to full charge in five minutes, rather than the typical two hours or more needed with other batteries,” Tour said.
The Tour lab previously used a derivative of asphalt — specifically, untreated gilsonite, the same type used for the battery — to capture greenhouse gases from natural gas. This time, the researchers mixed asphalt with conductive graphene nanoribbons and coated the composite with lithium metal through electrochemical deposition.
Testing revealed another significant benefit: The carbon mitigated the formation of lithium dendrites. These mossy deposits invade a battery’s electrolyte. If they extend far enough, they short-circuit the anode and cathode and can cause the battery to fail, catch fire or explode. But the asphalt-derived carbon prevents any dendrite formation.
More on this available from Rice.