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New Lithium-Ion battery design emerges

A new Lithium-Ion battery design based on proprietary nanoscale electrode technology based on research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) promises up to 10 times the life, five times the power and faster charge times than conventional high-power battery technology.

The first of the new Lithium-Ion batteries from A123 Systems in Watertown, MA, became available in the last quarter of 2005 and are targeted for use in applications that require high power, high levels of safety and long life. Some of the applications identified for the batteries include power tools, advanced medical devices, hybrid electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

DEWALT is using A123 Systems’ battery in a new, heavy-duty 36-volt power tool platform. The 36-volt power tools will provide users with increased levels of power and runtime, at a similar or less weight than their corded counterparts.

The new generation of lithium battery offers five times the power density of current rechargeable, high-power batteries. Additionally, they can be recharged to 90 percent of their capacity in five minutes.

The new design — unlike conventional Lithium-Ion batteries — are made from new, thermally stable, non-combustible active materials. They also deliver as much as a 10-times improvement in life compared to other rechargeable batteries, offering thousands of charge and discharge cycles before reaching the end of their useful life.

Applications in field acquisition have not yet surfaced; however, the new technology is drawing attention from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy for future use in hybrid electric vehicles.

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