Scanning electron microscope images show an anode of asphalt, graphene nanoribbons, and lithium at left, and the same material without lithium at right. (Image: Tour Group)

A touch of asphalt may be the secret to creating high-capacity lithium metal batteries that charge 10 to 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries, according to Rice University scientists. In addition, the asphalt-containing batteries do not catch fire or explode, and manufacturing is simplified.