Scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have reported that they have developed a new battery that can be recharged up to 70% in only 2 minutes and will have a lifespan of over 20 years.

The researcher team, led by Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong, replaced the graphite used for the anode in lithium-ion batteries with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is an abundant, cheap and safe material used as a food additive and in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays.

They NTU scientists developed a simple method of turning titanium dioxide particles into nanotubes that are a thousand times thinner than a human hair. This nanostructure speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery.

Current lithium-ion batteries use additives to bind the electrodes to the anode. This affects the speed in which electrons and ions can transfer in and out of the batteries. The new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes eliminate the need for these additives and, so, can pack more energy into the same amount of space and charge much faster.

Manufacturing the new nanotube gel is very easy. Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are simply mixed together and stirred at a certain temperature.

Prof Chen believes that use of the new gel should be easy to integrate into current production processes and expects that the new fast-charging batteries could be on the market in two years time