Fast battery chargers are very handy, not just for professionals. If you are using power tools for longer periods, a rapid battery charger makes it possible to work all day with just two batteries. The modern rapid charger charge batteries in 30 minutes. But researchers are working on much faster charging times, just a few seconds may be enough for charging batteries in the future.
It was not a long ago when rechargeable batteries were almost useless. Even you charged them according to the recommendations, it generally did not take long before they lost most of their power. Charging the batteries required a lot of time and as mentioned, the batteries generally had to be replaced fairly soon. But with the success of cordless devices, battery technology has improved a lot.
Lithium-ion batteries are powerful and have very few shortcomings compared with earlier rechargeable battery types. And with the rapid 30-minute fast chargers, you generally only need two batteries to keep you covered. Even better, the lithium-ion batteries can be charges thousands of times without losing much of their initial power.
But not everyone is happy. Especially smartphones with their large displays are draining their batteries quickly. And while it is not really inconvenient to change the batteries of a cordless drill, you don’t want to keep on changing or charging the batteries of your smartphone all the time. So a solution is needed.
One very interesting solution is superfast chargers, charging the batteries a hundred times faster than current chargers. It is actually not the charger that is important, the batteries need to have the right internal structure. In theory, it is possible to charge lithium-ion batteries in a minute or two. It is actually relatively easy to construct a solution on paper. The real problem is to find a way of producing such batteries in a cheap and reliable way.
A number of projects are trying to find a solution that can be commercialized. The market is huge, power tools would be a relatively small market compared with smartphones and laptops.
How fast a battery can be charge is primarily limited by the movement of electrons into the cathode. But one of the main problems is that fast charge times generally mean less capacity. If you decrease the charge time, you also get a weak battery. If you want a powerful battery, the charge time increases. As mentioned, there are solutions to this but the real problem is to find a way of producing reliable batteries in large quantities, to reasonable prices.