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Toshiba preps minute-charge 'miracle' battery

Very short charge time, very long lifespan - and green, too

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Toshiba has developed a Lithium-Ion battery capable of being charged to 80 per cent of its full capacity in under 60 seconds. Filling it up takes just "a few more minutes", the company boasted today.

Toshiba 'one-minute charge' Li-ion batteryThat's considerably faster than today's Li-ion rechargeables which can take 1-4 hours to reach 80 per cent capacity, and even longer to fill completely.

Toshiba also claimed the new cell offers a greater longevity than today's Li-ion batteries, losing only one per cent of its capacity after 1000 charge cycles, according to the results of its own charge-discharge testing.

The battery can operate at temperatures of -40°C, though it's limited to 80 per cent of capacity in such conditions, compared to 100 per cent at 25°C. At 45°C, its longevity begins to tail off, losing five per cent of capacity after 1000 charging cycles.

The company lauded the new battery's eco-credentials. With such a fast recharge time, it consumes less energy than today's Li-ion cells, leading to reduced carbon-dioxide emissions, Toshiba claimed.

The secret is the use of "nano-particles" to "prevent organic liquid electrolytes from reducing during battery recharging. The nano-particles quickly absorb and store vast amount of lithium ions, without causing any deterioration in the electrode".

Toshiba's miracle battery will come to market next year, the company said, initially in automotive and industrial applications. However, there's a clear benefit for mobile devices. Toshiba's prototype 600mAh cell, for example, was clearly developed with compact gadgets in mind: it measures 6.2 x 3.5 x 0.4cm. ®

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