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BATTERY TECHNOLOGY New battery technology innovation charges drone in five minutes

| Author / Editor: Luke James / Johanna Erbacher

An Israeli company, StoreDot, has successfully cut drone recharge time down from 1-2 hours to 5 minutes with its latest battery technology innovation. StoreDot hopes that its technology will soon be integrated into commercial drones.

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A drone using StoreDot’s UFC FlashBattery is shown lifting off from a StoreDot UFC station.
A drone using StoreDot’s UFC FlashBattery is shown lifting off from a StoreDot UFC station.
(Source: StoreDot)

Drones are super advanced. There’s no denying that. But if there’s one area where they fall short of the mark, it’s battery power.

Most commercial drones will only provide users with around 30 minutes’ worth of airtime before they need to be recharged, and this can take as long as 1-2 hours depending on the drone. This is problematic for drone users who have to either buy several spare batteries, which is uneconomical or wait for the battery to recharge, which wastes time.

Now, an Israeli company called StoreDot has promised a new type of technology that recharges a drone’s battery from empty to full in just five minutes. The secret to this achievement is StoreDot’s battery technology known as the UFC FlashBattery, a power source that works in tandem with an ultra-fast charging (UFC) base station to recharge the battery around 18 times quicker than existing drone batteries.

From this five-minute charge, around 31 minutes’ worth of flight time is provided, StoreDot claims.

Nanodot technology

The ultra-fast charging battery makes use of chemically synthesized peptide molecules that are known as ‘nanodots’. These form part of a multi-function electrode that enables supercapacitor-style fast charging with a slow discharge.

Due to the small size of nanodots, which are chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules, the performance of electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance is massively improved. This results in batteries that can be charged from zero to 100 in a fraction of the time of regular lithium-ion batteries.

Just how good is the FlashBattery?

According to StoreDot’s CEO, the UFC FlashBattery could recharge in less than one minute. However, this would dramatically reduce the number of possible charge cycles from 100-150 to around 30.

In addition, the UFC FlashBattery also loses some energy density. Currently, its density stands at 170Wh/kg and 430Wh/l. This is a little bit below the industry standard ranges of 150-250Wh/kg and 300-700Wh/l. However, when you consider that the battery can be charged in only five minutes, this energy density trade-off is more than worth it.

Thanks to the UFC FlashBattery, drones will be able to spend a lot more time in the air. "At the same time, UFC [ultra-fast charging] will also enable drone users to expand their operations into regions they could not previously access,” says StoreDot CEO Dr. Doron Myersdorf.

Additionally, the UFC FlashBattery is far safer and more stable. This is due to the absence of flammable chemicals. The chemical compound that’s used in the battery isn’t flammable and has a much higher combustion temperature than graphite. In addition, according to StoreDot, the materials used in UFC FlashBattery are naturally abundant, inexpensive, and eco-friendly.

Although the battery is still in development, StoreDot is hopeful that the technology will soon be integrated into drones fitted with two battery packs, each with 32 cells and pack capacity of 6.8Ah, a current charge of 135A, and a pack voltage of 19V-34.4V.

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