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TIAX Awarded Two Patents for Cel-X Li-Ion Control Technology

20 June 2007

TIAX has been issued two US patents for its Cel-X battery control technology. Cel-X is a low-cost, high-performance hardware and software system designed to improve the safety, capacity, and pack life of lithium-ion batteries through a non-dissipative approach to regulating state of charge.

Compared to the nickel-metal hydride batteries currently used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), lithium-ion batteries have higher power capability and longer runtime in packs that are smaller, lighter, and more cost effective, making them ideal candidates for use in next-generation HEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Despite the advantages of lithium-ion, technical challenges have kept these batteries from being used in automotive and other large-format battery applications. These applications depend on large battery packs made of multiple cells connected in series to achieve the high voltages required. A key hurdle has been the complexity and extra cost of effectively regulating the state of charge across these series of connected cells.

Over the life of a battery pack, imbalances that hinder battery performance, shorten life, and increase warranty costs and safety risks develop across cells. In traditional dissipative approaches to cell balancing, the battery pack capacity is limited by the lowest capacity cell. This limits the useful life of a battery pack and translates into high warranty costs and customer complaints in applications, such as cars and trucks, where lengthy performance lifetimes are required, according to TIAX.

Cel-X provides maximum possible energy while keeping cells in balance, protecting lithium-ion battery packs from the detrimental effects of unbalanced distribution of charge across cells. The result is a battery pack with longer life, increased capacity and improved safety. Other patent applications for Cel-X are pending in addition to the two newly awarded patents.

We’re very proud to be advancing a technology that could significantly accelerate the presence of HEVs and PHEVs on the market.

—Kenan Sahin, TIAX CEO and Founder

TIAX, which calls itself a technology processing company—a company that processes emerging innovations into robust technology platforms ready for hand-off—is also developing a nickel-based cathode material for lithium-ion batteries. The Department of Energy has provided support for that work.

June 20, 2007 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

So with this innovation, assuming it works as it should, what is holding back LiIon in automobiles?

Patent issues, for one.

When a company announces the patent has been issued, two things are clear:

1. The technology is at least two years old, which we know because of the length of the US patent backlog. It is telling that in those two years, they can't point to a scale implementation of the technology. Is it really so great? Then why isn't it being used by now?

2. They intend to sue people who use the technology without a license from them, so this is going to add significantly to the cost of the overall solution (for something that looks like it was a simple matter of coding).

The fact that they can't point to an implementation with a volume manufacturer is very telling. By the time the patents issued on things like the Ipod, 50 million of them were in distribution. Three possibilities 1. (best case) this is a bogus patent and everybody is already using a similar technology, or 2) (middle case) these guys are so concerned with big patent license revenue that they are charging too much and or 3 (worst case) this thing isn't really manufacturable, and that's why we don't see it in distribution.

In all events, this doesn't seem like great news.

Doesn't Tesla do this already with their battery pack?

Didn't AC Propulsion do this with their 18650 packs at least 4 years ago?

I recall seeing warranty requirements for devices like this on lead-acid battery packs some years ago.

It's prettyy obvious that no one here understands the significance, if any, of this patent announcement. Just idle chatter.

The real thing holding it back is the Big Three
and their 'perception' of what kind of power is
used in the vehicles which you and I would
supposedly buy. But with 'gas' , or deisel at $ 3.00
a gallon , or more , We are at least looking for
alternatives , or More mpg.
The message is slowly getting thru to them.
Also with Chrysler being 'returned' to U.S. ownership
we just may see some improvements..

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