Regardless of whether it’s photovoltaics or fusion, human civilisation will eventually have to rely on sustainable sources of energy. Humanity’s ever-increasing energy needs and the finite nature of fossil resources make this unavoidable. Because of this, a great deal of work has been done to develop alternative energy sources, the majority of which rely on electricity as their primary energy carrier.
Since renewables have undergone substantial R&D, the globe has gradually adopted new products and technologies powered by renewables. There has been a dramatic shift in the automobile industry in recent years.
Even ten years ago, electric vehicles were almost unheard of on the highways; today, millions of them are purchased every year. Elon Musk became the richest man in the world as a result of his success in the electric vehicle market, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy.
Batteries store the energy used by electric vehicles instead of hydrocarbon fuels, which are used in conventional cars. Early electric vehicles had very limited ranges because of the low energy density of batteries compared to fuels. However, throughout time, battery technology progressed to the point where electric car driving ranges might be considered acceptable in comparison to gasoline-powered vehicles. That battery storage technology required to be improved in order to kick-start the present electric vehicle revolution is a blatant understatement.
Customers of electric vehicles confront another problem, however: delayed battery charge. Recharging at home currently takes roughly 10 hours. Fully recharging a vehicle with even the fastest charging stations’ superchargers can take 20-40 minutes. Customers face higher expenditures and inconvenience as a result of this change.
Scientists turned to the enigmatic subject of quantum physics for help in resolving this dilemma. Quantum technologies may offer new ways to charge batteries at a quicker rate, according to their investigation. Alicki and Fannes released a seminal work in 2012 proposing the concept of a “quantum battery.” Using quantum resources, such as entanglement, it was proposed that the charging process for a battery may be greatly accelerated by concurrently charging all of the battery’s cells.
Considering that today’s large-capacity batteries can contain many cells, this is very fascinating. Classical batteries, in which the cells are charged in parallel but not in concert, are unable to do this type of collective charging. By using the ‘quantum charging advantage’ ratio, the advantage of this collective charging may be quantified.
This quantum advantage can be attributed to two different mechanisms: ‘global operation,’ in which all cells communicate with each other simultaneously, or “all seated at one table,” as the saying goes; and ‘all-to-all coupling,’ which was discovered around the year 2017. (every cell can talk with every other, but a single cell, i.e., “many discussions, but every discussion has only two participants”). The charging speed can be increased, but it’s not obvious if both of these sources are required or if there are any restrictions.
Some of these issues were recently revisited by researchers at IBS’ Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems (CTPCS). Physical Review Letters selected the paper as a “Editor’s Suggestion” because it demonstrated that all-to-all coupling is irrelevant in quantum batteries and that the presence of global operations is the only component of the quantum advantage. The team went one step further, pinpointing the exact source of this advantage, ruling out all other options, and even presenting an explicit design method for such batteries.
Using this method, the team was able to precisely measure the charging speed. Researchers found that quantum batteries can achieve quadratic scaling in charging speed compared to traditional batteries, which only improve charging speed linearly. Consider an electric vehicle with a battery containing 200 cells as an example. As a result of this quantum charging, the home charging time would be reduced from 10 hours to around 3 minutes, which is a 200-fold improvement over conventional batteries. The charging period would be reduced from 30 minutes to only a few seconds at high-speed charging stations.
According to researchers, quantum charging could have far-reaching ramifications beyond electric cars and consumer devices. Future fusion power plants, for example, could benefit greatly from its utilization because of the massive amounts of energy that can be charged and discharged in a single instant.
Even though quantum technology is still in its infancy, there is a long way to go before these methods can be put into reality. Quantum technology. These kinds of findings, on the other hand, point in the right direction and can entice funding organizations and companies to continue sponsoring research in this area. If quantum batteries were used, it is expected that they would alter the way we consume energy and move us a step closer to a sustainable world.