Japanese company Power Japan Plus has announced the development and planned mass-production of "Ryden," a disruptive carbon battery that can be charged 20 times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell. The battery, which is cheap to manufacture, safe, and environmentally friendly, could be ideal to improve the range and charging times of electric cars.

We've seen electric cars and motorbikes make huge strides forward in recent years. Up to a few years ago, electric vehicles were a synonym of peculiar designs, poor performance, and very low range; but now, more and more people associate them with instant torque and high performance. Further improving range, charging time, and cost would make electric vehicles an even more compelling product.

A new battery developed by Power Japan and Kyushu University promises that – and more. The researchers describe their battery as "dual carbon" since both electrodes are made out of carbon. They claim that their design not only has high energy density, but is also economical, very safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable. Most importantly, it can charge 20x faster than its Li-ion counterpart.

The battery employs carbon for both electrodes (Image: Power Japan Plus)

According to the company, their technology would allow you to charge the battery of a Nissan Leaf in 12 minutes instead of four hours. Because that battery has a capacity of 24 kWh, a back-of-the-envelope extrapolation would give us a charging time of 42 minutes for the 85 kWh battery of a top of the line Tesla Model S.

Power Japan also claims that their battery has energy density comparable to state of the art lithium-ion, with manufacturing costs that are equal or lower. This is because carbon, which is widely available in nature, is the only active ingredient, and the batteries can fit into a standard 18650 cell (the one used in laptops and electric cars), requiring no significant change to existing manufacturing lines.

Further characteristics that make it particularly suitable for electric cars are a long lifetime of 3,000 charge/discharge cycles (Li-ion's life is closer to 1,000 cycles) and the ability to discharge fully without the risk of short-circuiting and damaging the battery. Moreover, the battery doesn't heat up, so it wouldn't require the extensive cooling systems that appear in current electric cars. Thermal stability also makes the battery much safer, because it eliminates the risk of thermal runaway, which can cause explosions. And it would be more powerful than other batteries, operating at over four volts.

The company is developing its own organic carbon material for the batteries (Image: Power Japan Plus)

The battery would also be highly sustainable, as it is fully recyclable. Power Japan is planning to produce the battery using an organic carbon complex, developed in-house from organic cotton, to obtain a greater control over the size of the carbon crystals in its electrodes.

Power Japan is planning to start production of 18650 dual carbon cells later this year for specialty applications such as medical devices and satellites, and they plan to license the technology to other companies for use in electric vehicles.

The video below illustrates the advantages of the battery.

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