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Electrovaya to Use New MN Series Li-Ion Battery Technology in NYSERDA Plug-In Hybrid Conversion Contract

29 January 2007

Electrovaya Inc. has received an US$100,000 contract from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop and demonstrate a plug-in hybrid concept using the Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle. The contract is one of four NYSERDA has awarded for PHEV conversions. (Earlier post.)

Electrovaya will use its recently-announced MN Series Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery in the project. The MN Series, which is a Lithiated Manganese Oxide based system, offers up to 50% higher energy density than and comparable safety characteristics to Electrovaya’s Phosphate-Series chemistry, according to the company. (Earlier post.)

The new series offers density of beyond 330 Wh/kg and 650 Wh/liter, compared to Electrovaya’s older technology with 225 Wh/kg and 475 Wh/liter. Electrovaya will seek to provide a longer all-electric range for the plug-in hybrid.

In addition to Electrovaya’s battery and battery management system, the vehicle will be equipped with an on-board charger, such that the battery can be charged from most 120V electrical outlets.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle concept is gathering momentum in the US and elsewhere and Electrovaya, a co-founder of the Plug-in Hybrid Development Consortium, is proud to be working with the State of New York on this most environmentally important project.

—Dr. Sankar Das Gupta, CEO of Electrovaya

Electrovaya’s New York operations are presently located in Ballston Spa and expected to move to NYSERDA’s expanded STEP (Saratoga Technology and Energy Park) facilities towards the end of 2007.

January 29, 2007 in Batteries, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)

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Let's see, iron phosphate, titanium spinel, manganese oxide... how many Li-ion chemistries are there now?

Enough to have an all out race to demonstrate your{a123,altair,electrovaya...}chemistry can reliably power serial hybrids and ev's.Hopefully we are seeing government priming the pump{research spending,presidential cheerleading,etc}leading to capitalist frenzy to be first to market.All these chemistries are being introduced to small fleets that will produce data which automakers can use to determine how soon their serial hybrids can be introduced.Gm and ford have shown adaptable platforms that can use varios tech and could easily be expanded to other models.They need demonstrated battery packs.Let the race begin!

Last year, more than a billion mobile phones were sold and probably well over 50 million notebook computers, the vast majority powered by Li-On batteries. Meanwhile, we are still "experimenting" with Li-on technology for cars. If it did not happen now, for whatever reason(s), it will most likely not be a mainstream technology and at most occupy some specialized niches.

Multiple advanced Li-Ion batteries + Super-Capacitors variances is healthy for future PHEV & BEV energy storage units.

Let's hope that this type of research will go on at an accelerated rate and drive the cost down while increasing performance and reducing size and weight.

Global competition is very positive for the users. By 2010-2012, a dozen (or more) PHEVs and BEVs should on the market. The future looks brighter every day.

Joe,

See the recent Sony recall on Li-ion? Yeah, I think it best to still "experiment" with these until a thermally stable setup can be developed such that we don't have to worry about the much, much harsher environment they will be put in (temperature & vibration of a car vs. laptop or cellphone application).

I posted a link to the following link regarding lithium shortages (http://www.thestar.com/article/175800) on the Tesla blog asking them for opinions and they removed my comment within minutes. Maybe there is something to the article after all!

I am really hoping EV cars take off. However, I don't want us to switch from one dependency to another as a result.

So how much Li is there in the world and does the US have to import it?

As with many resources, Lithium is very abundant (I believe it's something like the 35th most common element on earth) It's just a matter of how much you need to pay to get it. Since it is so reactive, it tends to be disbursed fairly widely. You won't find it just lying arround in nuggets. If you have to you can get as much Li as you need from sea water (it will just cost more). Currently most lithium comes from brines. We will also need to start doing a better job or recycling the stuff.

World lithium production

Reflecting the growth in demand, world lithium production is estimated to have increased by some 4%py from 15,300t Li in 2002 to 18,800t Li in 2005. The industry is characterised by a high degree of concentration of production. Two countries - Chile and Australia - together account for nearly two-thirds of world output, and for most of the growth in production in the first part of this decade. Sons of Gwalia in Australia produces some 60% of world output of lithium minerals (as spodumene), with output estimated at 120,000t (gross weight) in 2005. SQM of Chile, with shipments of 27,800t lithium carbonate in 2005, accounted for 36% of world production. This share will increase from 2008, following the companys planned expansion in production capacity from 28,500tpy to 40,000tpy.

An interesting feature of world lithium production is the potential emergence of China as a leading supplier. The successful development of technology to extract lithium from high-magnesium brines has led to the start of lithium carbonate production from salt lakes in Qinghai and Tibet provinces. Capacity could rise to 45,000tpy if planned projects come on-stream. In late 2005, CITIC Guorun began construction of a 35,000tpy lithium carbonate plant to exploit lithium reserves in Xitai Ginar salt lake in Qinghai province. Production was scheduled to start in 2006.http://www.the-infoshop.com/press/ros42739_en.shtml

Lithium is more than 2 orders of magnitude more abundant in the earths crust than in ocean water. http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele003.html

Patrick

Yes, I know about the production problems encountered by Sony regarding their batteries. Yet, there are recalls every year by car manufacturers for a variety of reasons. It does not stop them from making cars. I would think that these technologies are ripe for mass production, somehow though it is not happening. A few start ups, with no manufacturing might, while big industrial firms stay away from it. I applaude companies like Hymotion for their initiatives, but the prices they ask for the technology is simply insane. No person other than an enthousiast would ever such a product. Who would pay 4 times as much per mile, and loosing factory warranty?

I may have missed it, but I keep seeing the idea that the world does not have enough retrivable Lithium to make enough batteries to power all the cars. Lets assume this is a myth. Lets assume that a Lithium Ion battery is mostly other elements, and that only a thin coating of one element contains lithium, such that Lithium comprises less than one one hundreth of the weight of a Lithium Ion cell. I am making these numbers up because I have not seen an article that addresses the first principles. But if I am in the ball park, then a cell with an energy density of 100 wh/kg, would provide 10 KWH/kg lithium. If we say the average vehicle would need to store 30 KWH, then each vehicle would need about 3 Kg of lithium. Is there enough lithium for 500 million vehicles? That would be about 15 billion kg of lithum. And the World's known reserves amount to about 100 billion kg of Lithium. So there would seem to be plenty, unless someone has significantly different numbers for the ROM calculation.

I think that the idea of limited Lithium resources has its genesis in discussions of deuterium-lithium fusion. In this case it is only because that reaction requires one relatively rare isotope of lithium (Li7, correct me if I'm wrong) whereas batteries can be made with the much more abundant.

great posts!! It's really good to see some "pressure" on auto manufacturers to get on the PHEV bandwagon. I'd especially like to see Toyota get moving big time. If they don't, their lead w/ the Prius technology will evaporate and someone else will fill the vaccuum.
Remember, we don't need Li-On batteries for every new vehicle since there will be other competing technologies
allowing for room for continuing improvements in Li-On.
Maurice

I think Joe hit the nail on the head by mentioning Li-i and super caps. Since a vast amount of the energy required to get a vehicle up to speed is consumed in the first 10 sec. it could all be provided by super caps. If the vehicle needs to stop the super caps could recover most of what they provided during acceleration useing regenerative braking. Super caps charge real fast and discharge just as fast..but they take a tremendous load off the batteries, don't weigh much and have almost unlimited life.

Concerning World Lithium Supply & how much Lithium per EV. The following study was based upon an EV having a 35 kWh Li-Ion Battery & the math works out to enought Lithium reserves to make 1.2 Billion EVs. I went ahead and calculated for PHEV & 2 different HEVs also.

The following link is a May 2000 study put out by ANL (Argonne National Laboratory) for the DOE (US Dept of Energy).

http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/149.pdf

USGS (2000) says USA used 2,800 tonne in 1999 & that was enough to make 290,000 EVs or 6,000,000 HEVs.

2,800 tonnes = 2,800,000 kg
290,000 EVs X 35 kWh each = 10,150,000 kWh
2,800,000 kg / 10,150,000 kWh = 0.276kg/kWh or 276 g/kWh

Argonne paper says world reserves exceed 12,000,000 tonne of lithium. Let’s just say there are only 12 million tonne.

12,000,000 tonne = 12,000,000,000 kg

12,000,000,000 kg of lithium / 0.276 kg/kWh = 43,500,000,000 units of lithium available to make 1 kWh each.

43,500,000,000 / 35 kWh per EV = 1,242,857,143 EVs or 1.2 Billion EV.

43,500,000,000 / 9 kWh per PHEV = 4,833,333,333 PHEVs or 4.8 Billion PHEV.

43,500,000,000 / 1.7 kWh per HEV = 25,588,235,294 or 25.6 Billion HEV. (Current Prius HEV has 1.3kWh vs. 1.7kWh shown here)

Just for the fun of it, let’s do the Prius….

43,500,000,000 / 1.3 kWh per Prius HEV = 33,461,538,462 or 33.5 Billion Prius HEV

The ANL article very clearly states when referencing the world lithium supply; “Therefore, long-term supply should not be a major concern.”

Forget supercaps for PHEVs. They're quite unnecessary, and would only add cost while reducing efficiency.

Transfering charge between the battery and the supercap requires a DC-DC level conversion. The converter is a significant cost item all by itself, and it's going to collect at least a 5% "tax" on every joule of energy transferred. You can try to minimize the energy transferred by leaving regenerative braking energy in the supercap and then tapping that energy first when accelerating, but that only gives you a different problem. You need two separate power controllers--one for the bank of supercaps and one for the battery.

Any battery that's large enough for a PHEV will have no trouble delivering or accepting charge fast enough to handle sprint starts and regenerative braking. Particularly if it's one of the newer Li-ion technologies that are all characterized by very high charge / discharge rate capabilities. It's only on "mild" hybrids with small batteries that a supercap for braking and starting acceleration makes any sense.

Supercaps also make sense if your power source is a primary battery, such as Zn-air cells.

I see the number of 12 million tonnes of known lithium reserves in the world repeated in many internet articles, but I think this is an old number. I think the reserves in China alone amount to several dozens of millions of tonnes of lithium. And though we seem not to know a viable method of extraction, sea water contains billions, and that is billions with a B, tonnes of lithium.

The Argonne paper also states that the lithium costs are only around $100 per EV. Manufacturing the battery is still the big cost (and of course this could come down a lot).

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