Saturday, April 13, 2024

StoreDot’s FlashBattery tech can recharge commercial drones in just 5 minutes

StoreDot is an Israeli team of engineers and scientists working on an ultra-fast charging battery system. Three years ago, StoreDot figured out how to charge smartphones and electric cars in 5 minutes. Now, the startup has introduced the ultra-fast charging (UFC) to the drone industry, reducing charging times of a commercial drone from a minimum of one hour to just 5 minutes. Fast battery charging allows for more readily available drones without the need to wait a long time to charge the batteries.

It typically takes between 60 to 90 minutes to charge a commercial drone, with full charge giving a flight time of just over 30 minutes. As a result, drones spend far longer in the charging station than in operation. Solution? Additional batteries must be purchased and swapped out between flights, but the process is not only costly but also requires a ‘man-in-the-loop’ to replace the batteries. This limits their practical use.

But now, thanks to FlashBattery charging technology, only five minutes is enough to charge the drone’s battery without the need for any human intervention. This week, the company announced that it had implemented a scaled-down version of its FlashBattery system into an autonomously operated drone-charging station, for use with drones equipped with StoreDot batteries.

StoreDot's FlashBattery tech can recharge commercial drones in just 5 minutes without human intervention.
StoreDot’s FlashBattery tech can recharge commercial drones in just 5 minutes without human intervention. Credit: StoreDot

The technology is based on nanodots, chemically synthesized peptides that form the basis for a multifunctional electrode that allows supercapacitor-style, slow-discharge fast charging, similar to a lithium-ion battery. This compound has a higher combustion temperature than graphite and is not flammable. Moreover, raw materials for such batteries are inexpensive, available in large quantities, and environmentally friendly.

The developers claim that a fully used battery can be recharged to 100% in five minutes, although the energy density of this battery is slightly lower than that of a traditional lithium-ion model. This means that flight time is only slightly reduced.

The launch of a UFC solution for drones changes the game,” said Dr. Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot. “Drones will now be able to spend much more of their valuable flight time engaged in actual missions, greatly extending their range, rather than having to return to base to have their battery swapped out. At the same time, UFC will also enable drone users to expand their operations into regions they could not previously access. Both of these factors will significantly increase operational efficiencies and profitability, making the business case for drone use much more attractive than ever before.

The same technology may also lead to electric vehicles and help distribute non-polluting vehicles. The price of the system has not yet been announced, but it is considered that it will be comparable to that of existing batteries for drones. The commercial release of FlashBattery technology is scheduled for the end of this year.