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Self-Heating Lithium-Ion Battery Takes On Winter Woes

First Posted: Jan 22, 2016 11:23 AM EST

Some batteries tend to malfunction once the temperature hits freezing point. However, this could no longer be the case, since a team of researchers have created a new self-heating lithium-ion battery that has numerous applications and self-heats once the temperature reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below, according to a study.

"It is a long standing problem that batteries do not perform well at subzero temperatures," Chao-Yang Wang, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "This may not be an issue for phones and laptops, but is a huge barrier for electric vehicles, drones, outdoor robots and space applications."

Most traditional batteries experience power loss during freezing temperatures, which results in slow charging along with a break and reduction in vehicle cruise range. The researchers created an all-weather battery with high performance during all types of climate.

"We don't want electric cars to lose 40 to 50 percent of their cruise range in frigid weather," said Wang. "In cold winters, range anxiety is the last thing we need."

The new all-climate battery weighs 1.5 percent and costs 0.04 percent of the base battery, according to the researchers. The battery was designed to accommodate from -4° to 32° degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of 20 seconds and from -22º to 32º Fahrenheit in 30 seconds, where it consume just 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent of the cell's capacity.

The researchers' next step is to create a new "SmartBattery."  

"We think we can use similar structures or principles to actively regulate the battery's safety, performance and life," said Wang.

The findings of this study were published in Nature.

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