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StoreDot’s Bio-Organic Battery Tech Can Charge From Flat to Full in 30 Seconds? (techcrunch.com)
28 points by efficientarch on Apr 7, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

That interview screams "snake oil" at me so hard it is hard to read.

"It’s not a full capacity battery yet either." - So how much capacity is it? Pretty much everyone who has one of those USB charging IR helicopters from Think Geek have seen a battery that 'charges in 30 seconds' but how long would it run the phone?

"The diameter of these sphere is 2.1 nanometer. Very, very tiny. And these can be used, because they have special properties and they are robust, in a semi-conductor device or in a battery or in a display. We are talking about new type of materials that can be introduced into different types of devices.” -- Even though I'm trying hard not to reflexively reject anything based on "crystals" (California New Age mysticism) the statement has issues. 2.1 nanometer sphere? What element? (not carbon (1.1 nanometer for C60)).

"StoreDot’s original focus ... was memory chips ... shifted ... to ... fast-charging smartphone batteries, and cadmium-free displays — with its nano-crystal tech offering a cheaper and non-toxic alternative to cadmium in screens." -- Sounds like an experiment result in search of a product, but nowhere do they point to the original paper or research which kicked off this adventure?

"The big challenge for StoreDot is getting an industry that’s used to building electronics one way to switch to something new and different," -- this statement is always untrue for a 'better' thing. If you can do the same thing 10x better as the existing tech, the manufacturing comes to you, you don't have to do anything to 'get the industry' to change. They are motivated to build the products that are going to sell the most, period.

"”This is a new type of material, with new physics, new chemistry, that is actually coming from nature…" -- not only new physics but also new chemistry? Double Nobel Prize time here folks. That kind of statement makes me look for the evidence to back up that claim. Not provided in the article and again no referenced research.

This is one of those cases where if they had just enough money to build a single product, a full capacity battery that charged in 30 seconds. And they produced one, maybe two lots of a few thousand. Then they wake up people who are really really interested in that. But unless they come through with more information on the new physics and chemistry that makes that possible, I will remain skeptical.

One of their cofounders has several published papers, patent applications, and such that sound like they give more details on some of the underlying science and technology. There's a list here: http://scholar.google.com/citations?sortby=pubdate&hl=en&use...

Oh thank you very much for that. Wow, that "Bioorganic nanodots for non-volatile Memory Devices"[1] is a pretty quick read. I'd bet money they have used their material to build what is effectively a high internal resistance capacitor, storing charge rather than a chemical process. That makes much more sense as charge storage is limited only by dielectric constant and the internal resistance.

To make their video compelling they need to then start a program on the phone, and show it and a clock before the 'low battery' alert goes off. That will give a sense of how many watt-seconds they can hold in that volume.

[1] PDF: http://scitation.aip.org/deliver/fulltext/aip/journal/aplmat...

In the past ten years there have been tens of articles predicting a new breakthrough technology, but not once I've seen any kind of follow up, like: "Remember that awesome new battery technology we covered last year? They're closer to making it reality". This never happens, I get it that progress takes decades, but why these kind of projects seem to simply die out?

It's a very long road from making something work on a PhD students desk to a industrial process that works at scale. Many things can go wrong. But since everybody competes for funding things are reported as if they were available on the shelf tomorrow.

It reckons the speedy charging battery technology could be on the market within three years.

According to this chart it really works: https://xkcd.com/678/

The fact that this battery is bio-organic is a good sign, as typically the reason batteries haven't advanced at the exponential rate of other technologies is that they are based on chemical reactions.

I am doing research on quantum dot technology[0], but most of the information seems to be about the usage in LCD screens and solar panels, does anyone have any good resources or information on their use in batteries?


The article mentions cadmium. This is the first time that I've heard claims that liquid-crystal displays contain cadmium, and actually I can't find anything on the web about it (other than an old patent that I'm not sure is relevant today[1]). Does anyone know more?

[1] http://www.google.it/patents/DE2837433A1?cl=en

I believe they are referring to the use of Cd in displays that utilize Quantum Dots (QD-LED) not regular LED/LCD displays.

Thanks, I wasn't aware of QD-LED displays. It's sad to see Cd return to areas where LED technology seemed to bring an environmentally clean solution.

If the internal resistance of the battery really is low enough for this to work then the discharge speed could also be a huge advantage for other applications.

At the same time I see a huge safety issue: If I drop my phone in the water I don't want it to be able to transmit power that quickly.

Couldn't help but notice how massive the plug was, there must be quite a flow of current. Also, the pins were exposed - careful!

I did have a few doubts. If you watch the video, the battery is accessed via an app out side of settings. Maybe this is possible but its also not difficult to write an app that will mimic this. What I want to see is a DEAD phone that will not turn on charged to full.

I have no doubt that the battery level displayed is genuine. What I do doubt is how much juice is actually in the battery they have connected to the phone; supercapacitors aren't new. They also have severe issues with actually providing enough sustained power to be useful in a cell phone context.

Remember that story about a year ago about the high school girl who was going to charge your cell phone in 20 seconds? Same promise, same problem - supercapacitors charge really fast, discharge really fast, and just can't compete with a l-ion battery.

As soon as someone demos one of these batteries that can actually provide 10 watt-hours on a 30-second charge, call me. Until then, yawn.

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