November 28, 2022

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Aleksander Kowal

Batteries are charged faster. Artificial intelligence helps

At the same time, they have an ally which is artificial intelligence. Because of that, as suggested by the article from Nature Connections, representatives of Carnegie Mellon University were able to design electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries. These electrolytes speed up the charging of batteries, which will be useful in many different areas, including electric cars.

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Where does all this fuss come from? Lithium-ion batteries have a cathode and anode surrounded by an electrolyte. When charged, the ions migrate through the electrolyte from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. When they are unloaded, the process takes place in the opposite direction. The exact composition of the electrolyte affects the charge, discharge and other parameters. This is why designing more efficient electrolytes is an essential part of battery manufacturing.

Wanting to charge batteries faster, scientists have used robots and artificial intelligence

In this case, the automated system of pumps, valves, vessels and other laboratory equipment helped. I mixed three potential solvents and one type of salt. Without automation, this kind of experiment would take much longer. The collected data is then fed into a machine learning system that analyzes information on suggested alternative patterns and coefficients that could provide higher performance.

In this way, Dragonfly (artificial intelligence) analyzed the various formations, suggested formations of their own, and Cleo (the robot) examined them in practice. This exceptional duo conducted 42 trials in two days, which resulted in six solutions better than those used so far. In one case, the improvement was as high as 13 percent.

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Clio and Dragonfly focused on charging speed, but similar experiments can be used to improve other parameters such as capacity and discharge time. For this reason, the research authors argue that their approach would also be useful in other areas, not just in battery design. Interestingly, the Idaho National Laboratory’s Department of Energy recently announced that it has found a way to safely and efficiently charge electric vehicles up to 90 percent in just 10 minutes.