Toshiba develops fast-charging battery techology

Toshiba has developed prototype lithium ion batteries with a special material that allows them to charge in 60 times faster than conventional batteries.

Toshiba has developed prototype batteries that can be recharged about 60 times faster than conventional lithium ion batteries, and the technology could be commercialised for portable electronics products in about three years, company executives said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Lithium ion batteries charge by absorbing ions in the negative electrode, and they discharge when ions flow from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. Conventional lithium ion batteries charge at a rate of 2 to 3 percent of their total capacity per minute and take an hour or more to fully charge, according to the company.

Toshiba's prototype batteries are lithium ion batteries that contain a material in the negative electrode that is able to absorb about 80 percent of the battery's total power capacity in about minute, according to Masayuki Ishikawa, assistant director at the company's Corporate Research and Development Center, based in Kawasaki near Tokyo.

Toshiba has developed two prototype batteries. The smaller version is 3.8 millimeters by 62 millimeters by 35 millimeters, weighs 16 grams, and has a capacity of 600 mAH (milliamp hours). The larger version is 6.5 millimeters by 110 millimeters by 70 millimeters, weighs 95 grams, and has a capacity of 3,200 mAH. The company did not disclose the voltages of the prototypes.

The smaller prototype retains 99 percent of its capacity after being charged 1,000 times, and fast-charging batteries will have about the same life as their conventional cousins, said Junichi Nagaki, a spokesman for Toshiba.

Toshiba intends to commercialise the battery technology for automotive and industrial applications in 2006, said Norio Takami, laboratory leader at the company's Corporate Research and Development Center. Next, the company is considering developing the technology for consumer electronics devices such as notebook PCs, mobile phones and other devices, he said.

"Technically, there is no problem to use this technology for cell phone batteries," Takami said.

Because the batteries charge so quickly, the company will have to develop small transformers to handle the extra current, it said.

The company has registered five patents related to the fast-charge technology in both Japan and the U.S. and it is applying for several more, Takami said.

Toshiba is also developing direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology for both notebook PCs and smaller portable electronic devices. DMFCs work by mixing methanol with air and water to produce electrical power and are considered by many major Japanese consumer electronics companies as an alternative or replacement for lithium ion batteries for portable devices. A version of the fuel cell for notebook PCs is expected to be commercially available in about three years, according to Toshiba.

Toshiba believes there will be demand for both fast-charging lithium ion batteries and fuel cells, Nagaki said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?