"It doesn't have the charge-discharge cycling stability that we would like," Professor Dai said. "Right now it decays by about 20 percent over 800 cycles. That's about the same as a lithium-ion battery. But our battery is really fast, so we'd be using it more often. Ideally, we don't want it to decay at all."
Who said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Scientists at Stanford University have done just that by using 21st century wonder material graphene, to enhance the utility of Thomas Edison’s 100 year old invention, the nickel-iron battery. While the researchers still have a few longevity issues to overcome, I suspect that we will be generating a lot more graphene interest in a whole lot more older technology.
We will be hearing a lot more about these new nickel-iron-graphene batteries this decade I suspect, especially in the area of electric vehicles. You have to wonder what great advances Thomas Alva Edison himself would have made, if he’d only know about some of the properties of graphene.
“Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”
Thomas Alva Edison.
Stanford University Scientists Breath New Life into The Nickel-Iron Battery
June 26, 2012
To demonstrate the reliability of the Edison nickel-iron battery, drivers rode a battery-powered Bailey in a 1,000-mile endurance run in 1910. Stanford University scientists have breathed new life into the nickel-iron battery, a rechargeable technology developed by Thomas Edison more than a century ago.
Designed in the early 1900s to power electric vehicles, the Edison battery largely went out of favor in the mid-1970s. Today only a handful of companies manufacture nickel-iron batteries, primarily to store surplus electricity from solar panels and wind turbines.
—– Now, Dai and his colleagues have dramatically improved the performance of this century-old technology. The Stanford team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 minutes and discharged in less than 30 seconds.
—-Graduate student Hailiang Wang, lead author of the study, said the team managed to increase the charging and discharging rate by nearly 1,000 times.
“We’ve made it really fast,” Wang said.
The high-performance, low-cost battery could someday be used to help power electric vehicles, much as Edison originally intended, Dai said.
An ultrafast nickel–iron battery from strongly coupled inorganic nanoparticle/nanocarbon hybrid materials
Ultrafast rechargeable batteries made from low-cost and abundant electrode materials operating in safe aqueous electrolytes could be attractive for electrochemical energy storage. If both high specific power and energy are achieved, such batteries would be useful for power quality applications such as to assist propelling electric vehicles that require fast acceleration and intense braking. Here we develop a new type of Ni–Fe battery by employing novel inorganic nanoparticle/graphitic nanocarbon (carbon nanotubes and graphene) hybrid materials as electrode materials. We successfully increase the charging and discharging rates by nearly 1,000-fold over traditional Ni–Fe batteries while attaining high energy density.