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Lithium-ion battery warms itself in cold environments to maintain performance

Extreme temperatures can seriously compromise the performance of lithium batteries. We've seen a number of developments promising to reduce the risk of them overheating and catching fire, but at the other end of the scale, freezing temperatures aren't too friendly either, often leading to substantial power loss. In an advance that could have ramifications for everything from electric vehicles to space exploration, researchers have built a lithium battery that warms itself up to battle the winter chill. n testing, the battery was able to warm from -4 ° Fahrenheit up to 32 ° F (-20 ° C to 0 ° C) in 20 seconds, and - 22 ° F to 32 ° F (-30 ° C to 0 ° C) in 30 seconds. And it did so while consuming just 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent of the battery's capacity respectively. By comparison, the team points out, this is a significant improvement on the 40 percent loss of capacity experienced by conventional lithium batteries in cold temperatures. In addition, the Penn State battery is only 1.5 percent heavier and costs 0.04 percent more than a conventional lithium-ion battery.

1/21/16, 12:00 AM 

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