a “quantum” charge faster than a full one?

Why do we not have an electric car with quantum batteries yet? Due to technological problems! The phenomenon of decoherence, which should be mastered, actually refers its use to electric cars to a very hypothetical future. And on the other hand, the main systems currently store optical and non-electrical energy. On the other hand, the possibilities for safer, more autonomous and more durable conventional storage, such as solid-state batteries or semiconductor batteries that utilize quantum modeling of materials, are being investigated.

But the climate is urgent! However, if the right ORSEC plan is struggling to get out of the boxes, some measures will emerge. What are we doing, for example, to combat the 12% of greenhouse gases emitted by cars? Europe has opted for the electric car with 100% of the heat eradicated in 2035. France, which has long “sponsored” diesel engines, seems to be taking a small step aside with its hybrid strategy. The fact is that car manufacturers and R&D, both private and public, are on the deck.

The Holy Grail? Make electric vehicles as efficient as thermal vehicles. To get there, the race for the battery is in full swing. The mega jackpot goes to the one that gives the greatest autonomy and the shortest charging time. Since the first car marketed in the world by Nissan with the Leaf, the charging time has gone from 24 hours to 12 and then to 6 hours. The goal of the moon would be to reach “the time of a full”. Focus on the challenges of energy storage and the technological locks of batteries.

The story of the electric car

The first electric vehicle was … a horse-drawn carriage! This prototype was designed by a Scottish businessman in 1830. With the invention of the rechargeable battery, New York saw its streets crisscrossed in 1922 by electric taxis. But cheap gasoline and the advent of thermal models from Ford referred it to the background for nearly 40 years.

It took no less than an oil shock in 1973 to bring it out of oblivion. It regains its “stripes” as an ecological consciousness develops. In 1997, General Motors launched the EV1. Other producers follow him, but the projects are abandoned due to lack of buyers. Why ? The biggest flaw of its cuirass is its low autonomy and its cost. It will be necessary to wait until 2008 for the launch of the 100% electric Leaf from Nissan and the increasingly innovative models from Tesla. Since 2010, the race has been (re) launched and the market is at the meeting this time!

(source: BEQ Technology.com)

Electric car with a quantum battery: on paper it works

The last few years have marked the boom in the development of the quantum computer and with it the promise of a multiplication of computing power. So why not a quantum technology that would increase the battery charge speed? A Korean team has just modeled the charge of a quantum battery versus a classic battery. Their results, published in the journal Physical review letters in April 2022, show that the speed would be 200 times faster.

“To achieve this quantum advantage, the researchers investigated whether the n cells that make up a battery should enter into dialogue in pairs, or whether each of them should enter into dialogue with all the others at the same time, in global operation. Their equations validated the other While the charging rate of a classical battery with n cells would be proportional to n, that of the quantum battery would vary in2. This research is very interesting, but at the moment the quantum charge of electric cars remains reduced to the time of a full tank gas pure science fiction. And with good reason, applications face a major technological hurdle, namely maintaining quantum coherence during loading and unloading. explains Brigitte Leridon, CNRS researcher at the Physics and Materials Studies Laboratory at ESPCI Paris.

Conventional batteries are made up of chemical cells, similar to our batteries, assembled and connected to the electrical circuit in parallel. The charge rate is therefore directly proportional to the number of cells. By connecting all the cells of the quantum battery together, the charging speed is proportional to n2.

A major problem: maintaining quantum coherence

Are you fascinated, sorry, fascinated? Welcome to the “magical” and completely counter-intuitive world of quantum physics! Imagine a quantum humor icon: it would be smiling, grimacing, sticking your tongue out, blinking, throwing up or crying at the same time. It would no longer be a simple image, but an animated GIF of all these superimposed modes. And without a bio-ionic eye, you would only see a yellow circle in the background.

Physicists talk about the entanglement of states when you are in video in front of a wall of connected .gif emoticons. According to Brigitte Leridon: “The whole difficulty for computers as for batteries is to maintain the coherence between quantum systems. For this to work, all quantum objects (here the battery cells) must remain in the same tangled quantum state. They must somehow cooperate. But when a quantum system interacting with the external environment, during a charge or discharge (in the case of the battery) we have a risk of decoherence, which would mean that the quantum advantage is lost. All research today focuses on mastering these aspects ”.

Against quantum superabsorption

Apart from these theoretical models, an Australian publication reports experimental progress. Researchers at the University of Adelaide have created a quantum nanobattery. In microcavities, the latter molecules of dyes placed, semiconductors, which they excited with a laser. They found that these molecules absorbed more energy per molecule and “charged” faster when in the same quantum state (the same microcavity).

“But here we are again far from an application for electric car batteries. In this laboratory experiment, the researchers stored light energy, not electricity. Imagine all gas stations must be equipped with lasers and we should invent a light energy motor! I think it is more likely, given the 2035 deadline, to focus on the development of more conventional systems. R&D focuses in particular on innovative and secure storage systems for electrical energy, such as whole-solid-state batteries, while quantum modeling of these materials is used, ”the physicist concludes.

Overview of batteries in the race

Drums lithium-ion

  • It is widely used for electric cars.
  • Sound +: the best performance in autonomy, long life, higher energy density than other technologies
  • Sound -: explosion problems, lithium is rare, expensive, extracted in China sometimes by children and toxic. Nickel and cobalt are also expensive and toxic.
  • Ongoing research: optimization of energy density, change of intercalation electrode

The sodium ion battery

  • Point +: sodium is abundant (in the ocean)
  • Point -: lower energy density, does not support repeated loads
  • At the development stage.

The solid battery

  • The liquid electrolyte is replaced by a solid inorganic compound which allows the diffusion of lithium ions.
  • Its +: better security, denser and lighter, longer life
  • Sound -: Researchers are working on technological barriers at interfaces. It is only at the laboratory prototype stage.

solid-state batteries

  • The anode is a metal like lithium.
  • Its +: safer, 2x more autonomy than lithium-ion, low size and weight
  • Sound -: use of rare and expensive metal, not enough for electric car production
  • The technology is almost ready, but production requires various machines and techniques, which delay its arrival in the market (after 2025). In addition, there is not enough raw lithium in the world.

Leave a Comment