[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Beijing, Argonne researchers develop new solid-state Li-ion battery; glassy nanocomposite electrolyte with ILs
February 11, 2016
Researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology and Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new solid-state Li-ion battery technology, consisting of a solid nanocomposite electrolyte using porous silica matrices with in situ immobilizing Li+-conducting ionic liquids; mesocarbon microbeads (MCMB) as anode material, and LiCoO2 (LCO), LiNi⅓Co⅓Mn⅓O2 (NCM), or LiFePO4 (LFP) as cathode material.
Solid-state full cells tested with the various cathodes exhibited high specific capacities, long cycling stability, and excellent high temperature performance. A paper on the work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
Researchers synthesize new Li-S cathode based on “carbon compartments”
February 10, 2016
Researchers from Texas A&M and Purdue have developed a new cathode material for Li-S batteries based on what they call carbon compartments (CCs)—conductive 3D carbon mesostructures that possess macro- and meso-pores that allow for high loading of sulfur nanoparticles and enhanced electrolyte-sulfur contact.
Fabricated using a scalable, single-step, and inexpensive solid-state synthesis, the 3D carbon architectures provide a conductive backbone for non-conducting sulfur particles and also effectively accommodate volume expansion during Li2S formation. Described in an open-access paper in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, the CCs demonstrate around 700 mAh g−1 (at 47%-wt S) reversible capacity with high coulombic efficiency due to their unique structures.
Researchers 3D-print graphene composite aerogel microlattices for supercapacitors
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC Santa Cruz have successfully 3D-printed periodic graphene composite aerogel microlattices for supercapacitor applications, using a technique known as direct-ink writing. The key factor in developing these novel aerogels is creating an extrudable graphene oxide-based composite ink and modifying the 3D printing method to accommodate aerogel processing.
The 3D-printed graphene composite aerogel (3D-GCA) electrodes are lightweight, highly conductive, and exhibit excellent electrochemical properties. Supercapacitors using these 3D-GCA electrodes with thicknesses on the order of millimeters display exceptional capacitive retention (ca. 90% from 0.5 to 10 A·g−1) and power densities (>4 kW·kg−1) that equal or exceed those of reported devices made with electrodes 10−100 times thinner. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
Purdue team uses pollen grains as basis for carbon architectures for Li-ion anodes
February 08, 2016
A team at Purdue University has used pollens as the basis for carbon architectures for anodes in energy storage devices. As reported in an open-access paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports, Jialiang Tang and Vilas Pol converted bee pollen and cattail pollen grains into carbon microstructures through a facile, one-step, solid-state pyrolysis process in an inert atmosphere.
They air-activated the as-prepared carbonaceous particles at 300 °C, forming pores in the carbon structures to increase their energy-storage capacity, and then evaluated them as lithium-ion battery anodes at room (25 °C) and elevated (50 °C) temperatures. Findings showed the cattail pollens performed better than bee pollen. At a C/10 rate, the ACP (activated cattail pollen) electrode delivered high specific lithium storage reversible capacities (590 mAh/g at 50 °C and 382 mAh/g at 25 °C) and also exhibited excellent high rate capabilities.
Study finds nanoparticle NMC material used in Li-ion batteries harms key soil bacterium
February 04, 2016
Nanoparticle nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), an emerging material that is being rapidly incorporated into lithium-ion battery cathodes, has been shown to impair Shewanella oneidensis, a key soil bacterium, according to new research published in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials.
The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the University of Minnesota is an early signal that the growing use of the new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries that power portable electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles may have unforeseen environmental consequences.
Connected Energy and Renault to collaborate on energy storage and EV charging technology; second-life batteries in E-STOR
Renault and distributed energy storage company Connected Energy are partnering to develop sustainable and efficient ways of using electric vehicle batteries at the end of their useable in-vehicle life in order to supply innovative and more affordable vehicle charging solutions.
At the end of their useful in-vehicle life, Renault EV batteries still have considerable remaining capacity, enabling them to server in other applications before recycling. With increasing EV sales—97,687 EVs were sold in Europe in 2015, up 48% on 2014—so is the requirement in energy to charge them. Connected Energy is addressing both issues through use of second-life EV batteries in its E-STOR technology.
Daimler & enercity storing new replacement EV batteries in working 15 MWh grid storage system; “living storage”
February 02, 2016
Daimler AG, with its wholly owned subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE, and enercity (Stadtwerke Hannover AG) will begin construction of a new stationary energy storage system (ESS) this year; the facility also functions as a spare parts storage facility for electromotive battery systems.
Around 3,000 new battery packs, destined for the current smart electric drive vehicle fleet, are being pooled to create the ESS at the enercity site in Herrenhausen. With a storage capacity totalling 15 MWh, the installation is one of the largest in Europe. After completion, the energy storage facility will be marketed on the German primary balancing energy market. The storage facility is already the third major project for Daimler AG in this business sector.
Stanford, SLAC team cages silicon microparticles in graphene for stable, high-energy anode for Li-ion batteries
January 28, 2016
A team from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has developed a new practical, high-energy-capacity lithium-ion battery anode out of silicon by encapsulating Si microparticles (∼1–3 µm) using conformally synthesized cages of multilayered graphene.
The graphene cage acts as a mechanically strong and flexible buffer during deep cycling, allowing the silicon microparticles to expand and fracture within the cage while retaining electrical connectivity on both the particle and electrode level.
Graphene ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies secures €4M from KIC InnoEnergy; targeting 20 Wh/kg by 2020
European ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies received a €4-million (US$4.4-million) investment from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company dedicated to promoting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe’s energy industry.
The €4m investment from KIC InnoEnergy—the shareholders of which include ABB, EDF, Iberdrola and Total—will be used to further develop the competitive advantage of Skeleton Technologies’ ultracapacitors. The company aims to reach the ambitious target of 20 Wh/kg energy density for its technology by 2020.
ALABC: 48V mild hybrids can meet emission targets with CO2 reductions of 15-20%
January 27, 2016
Current mild-hybrid vehicle projects, in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, that utilize advanced 48V lead-carbon batteries, can reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, according to the latest data from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), presented at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (25-28 January, Mainz).
The T-Hybrid (based on a Kia Optima) (earlier post) and the ADEPT (based on a Ford Focus) (earlier post) both utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery system with bolt-on electrical components that allow for significant engine-downsizing without loss in performance.
New BMW Brilliance engine plant with light metal foundry in China; high-voltage battery production to come
January 22, 2016
BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) opened a new engine plant with a light metal foundry in Shenyang today. The new location will produce the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder gasoline engines and forms part of the BBA production network based in Shenyang in Northeastern China.
In addition to combustion engines, the new engine plant will also produce high-voltage batteries for future Plug-in Hybrid models. As with engine assembly, this project will entail close cooperation between BBA and the BMW Group to ensure knowledge transfer from high-voltage battery production in Germany.
SEPTA, Constellation, and Viridity Energy to deploy 8.75MW energy storage system to capture and reuse subway train braking energy
An 8.75MW battery storage network which will capture and reuse the energy created by braking subway cars will help Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) reduce operating costs, ensure energy resiliency, and support the stability of the electrical grid.
Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, will fund, own, and operate the 8.75MW battery storage network, deployed at seven SEPTA substations. The network is designed to use stored energy to power trains as they accelerate from stations and can provide emergency generation for trains in the event of a power outage. ABB will provide engineering, procurement, construction and operations services to Constellation for the project. Saft will provide the lithium-ion battery technology.
DOE announces $58M in funding for advanced vehicle technologies
January 21, 2016
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz used the Washington DC Auto show as the venue to announce $58 million in funding for vehicle technology advancements. (Earlier post.) (DE-FOA-0001384: Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement) DOE also released a report highlighting the successes of itsAdvanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
Pre-announced in December, a $55-million funding opportunity will solicit projects across vehicle technologies such as energy storage, electric drive systems, materials, fuels and lubricants and advanced combustion. Secretary Moniz also announced that two innovative projects at CALSTART and the National Association of Regional Councils will receive $3 million to develop systems that help companies combine their purchasing of advanced vehicles, components, and infrastructure to reduce incremental cost and achieve economies of scale.
Penn State team develops self-heating battery; addressing Li-ion energy loss in cold temperatures
Researchers at Penn State, with colleagues at EC Power, a Penn State spin-off, have developed a lithium-ion battery structure—the ‘all-climate battery’ (ACB) cell—that heats itself up from below 0 degrees Celsius without requiring external heating devices or electrolyte additives. The self-heating mechanism creates an electrochemical interface that is favorable for high discharge/charge power. Because only a fraction of the battery energy is used for self-heating, the ACB could address winter range anxiety issues for EV drivers, as well as proving useful for applications in robotics and space exploration, the team said in a paper published in the journal Nature.
The ACB warms itself up to 0 degrees Celsius within 20 seconds starting at -20 ˚C and within 30 seconds at -30 ˚C, consuming 3.8% and 5.5% of cell capacity, respectively. (EC Power projects that it will be able further to reduce the self-heating time from -20˚C to 0 ˚C to 5 seconds by 2017, and reduce energy consumption to 1%.) The self-heated all-climate battery cell yields a discharge/regeneration power of 1,061/1,425 watts per kilogram at a 50% state of charge and at -30 ˚C, delivering 6.4–12.3 times the power of state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells.
Argonne-led team demonstrates Li-air battery based on lithium superoxide; up to 5x Li-ion energy density
January 19, 2016
Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, with colleagues in the US and Korea, have demonstrated a lithium-oxygen battery based on lithium superoxide (LiO2). The work, reported in the journal Nature, could open the way to very high-energy-density batteries based on LiO2 as well as to other possible uses of the compound, such as oxygen storage.
Lithium-air batteries form lithium peroxide (Li2O2)—a solid precipitate that clogs the pores of the electrode and degrades cell performance—as part of the charge−discharge reaction process. This remains a core challenge that needs to be overcome for the viable commercialization of Li-air technology. However, a number of studies of Li–air batteries have found evidence of LiO2 being formed as one component of the discharge product along with lithium peroxide (Li2O2).
VW e-Golf to be enhanced with improved infotainment, connectivity and range
January 14, 2016
Over the next few years (exact timing is unannounced) Volkswagen’s e-Golf battery-electric vehicle will receive a boost in range due to planned and anticipated improvements to its batteries (earlier post) as well as some of the advanced HMI (human-machine interface), device and connectivity technologies showcased at CES 2016 in the e-Golf Touch concept. (The exact technology slate for the US is also unannounced.)
The e-Golf Touch introduced a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of the new intuitive control technology, some of which will appear in the production e-Golf over the next few years. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2-inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels).
Stanford team develops thermoresponsive film allowing fast and reversible shutdown of Li-ion batteries to prevent thermal runaway
January 13, 2016
Stanford researchers have developed a fast and reversible thermoresponsive polymer switching (TRPS) material that can be incorporated inside batteries to prevent thermal runaway. Batteries with the material can shut down under abnormal conditions such as overheating and shorting, and then can resume their normal function without performance compromise.
This material consists of electrochemically stable graphene-coated spiky nickel nanoparticles mixed in a polymer matrix with a high thermal expansion coefficient. The as-fabricated polymer composite films show high electrical conductivity of up to 50 S cm−1 at room temperature. Conductivity decreases within one second by seven to eight orders of magnitude on reaching the transition temperature and spontaneously recovers at room temperature. This approach offers 103–104 times higher sensitivity to temperature changes than previous switching devices, the researchers said in an open-access paper published in the new journal Nature Energy.
National labs researchers find simple procedure to improve performance of NMC cathodes in Li-ion batteries
January 12, 2016
Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) is one of the more promising chemistries for better lithium batteries, especially for electric vehicle applications, but scientists have been struggling to get higher capacity out of them.
Now, a team of scientists from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has found that using a simple technique called spray pyrolysis can help to overcome one of the biggest problems associated with NMC cathodes—surface reactivity, which leads to material degradation. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Energy.
Chevrolet releases more details on Bolt drive unit and battery; one-pedal driving
January 11, 2016
Hard on the heels of the reveal of the production Volt EV at CES 2016 in Las Vegas earlier post), Chevrolet used the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit to release additional details on the battery and drivetrain of the new BEV. Engineers developed the Bolt EV’s propulsion system to offer more than an estimated 200 miles (based on GM estimates) and a sporty driving experience.
The Bolt EV’s drive system uses a single high capacity electric motor to propel the car. The engineering team designed the Bolt EV’s electric motor with an offset gear and shaft configuration tailored to meet efficiency and performance targets—most notably more than an estimated 200 miles of range. The motor is capable of producing up to 266 lb-ft (360 N·m) of torque and 200 hp (150 kW) of motoring power. Combined with a 7.05:1 final drive ratio, it helps propel the Bolt EV from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds.
Penn State team develops highly crumpled nitrogen-doped graphene sheets as high-performance cathode for Li-sulfur batteries
January 08, 2016
Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University have synthesized highly crumpled nitrogen-doped graphene (NG) sheets with ultrahigh pore volume (5.4 cm3) and large surface area (1158 m2/g), which enable strong polysulfide adsorption and high sulfur content for use as a cathode material in Li-sulfur batteries. The wrinkled graphene sheets are interwoven rather than stacked, resulting in rich nitrogen-containing active sites.
Lithium–sulfur battery cells using these wrinkled graphene sheets as both sulfur host and interlayer achieved a high capacity of 1227 mAh/g and long cycle life (75% capacity retention after 300 cycles) even at high sulfur content (≥80 wt %) and sulfur loading (5 mg sulfur/cm2). A high capacity of 1082 mAh/g was still achieved with an ultrahigh sulfur content of 90 wt %, and a capacity of 832 mAh/g was retained after 200 cycles. Areal capacity was 5 mAh/cm2. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
ECS and Toyota request proposals for 2016-2017 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship for projects in green energy technology
January 07, 2016
The Electrochemical Society (ECS), in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North American (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is requesting proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.
The purpose of the annual ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship, established in 2014, is to encourage young professors and scholars to pursue research in green energy technology that may promote the development of next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels.
Chevrolet unveils the Bolt EV
January 06, 2016
As promised, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra unveiled the production 2017 Bolt battery-electric vehicle at CES 2016. The Bolt EV, which will go into production by the end of 2016, will offer more than 200 miles of range on a full charge. It also features advanced connectivity technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience.
GM said that the Bolt EV benefits directly from the suggestions and ideas of Volt owners and features technologies that make owning a long-range electric vehicle easy. The Bolt EV’s connectivity innovations will provide smart, personalized solutions for managing the driving experience. For example, in the future an accurate driving range projection will be based on the time of day, topography, weather and the owner’s driving habits.
New prelithiation technique for silicon monoxide anodes for high-performance batteries; compatible with current roll-to-roll manufacturing
January 04, 2016
Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), with colleagues from the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), Qatar University and major battery manufacturer LG Chem have developed a technique for the delicately controlled prelithiation of SiOx anodes for high-performance Li-ion batteries.
The result, paired with a an emerging nickel-rich layered cathode, Li[Ni0.8Co0.15Al0.05]O2is high Columbic efficiencies (CE) and a full cell energy density 1.5-times as high as that of a graphite-LiCoO2 cell in terms of the active material weight. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
New highly conductive solid electrolyte with improved electrode contact for solid-state Li-ion batteries
December 31, 2015
A joint research team from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Seoul National University in Korea, with colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Brookhaven National Lab in the US, has developed a new highly conductive (4.1 × 10−4 S cm−1 at 30 °C), highly deformable, and dry-air-stable glass 0.4LiI-0.6Li4SnS4 electrolyte for solid-state Li-ion batteries.
The electrolyte is prepared using a homogeneous methanol solution. The process enables the wetting of any exposed surface of the electrode active materials with the highly conductive solidified electrolyte, resulting in considerable improvements in electrochemical performances. A paper on the work is published in the journal Advanced Materials.
New hybrid polymer-glass electrolyte for solid-state lithium batteries
December 21, 2015
Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a novel electrolyte for use in solid-state lithium batteries that overcomes many of the problems that plague other solid electrolytes while also showing signs of being compatible with next-generation cathodes.
Described in a paper (“Compliant Glass-Polymer Hybrid Single-Ion-Conducting Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries”) to be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the highly conductive hybrid electrolyte combines the two primary types of solid electrolytes: polymer and glass.
FEV-developed plug-in hybrid battery pack moves into series production
December 11, 2015
A plug-in hybrid vehicle has gone into series production with technology provided by FEV. In addition to using an innovative transmission concept based on a FEV patent, the PHEV also uses an FEV-developed battery pack. The pack offers a capacity of 10 kWh and yields an all-electric range of about 50 kilometers (30 miles).
FEV was responsible as a turn-key partner for the development of the battery hardware and software, throughout the development of the overall concept, as well as for testing and validation. Future production will be undertaken by suppliers in the Asian market.
Ford expanding global electrified vehicle battery R&D
December 10, 2015
Ford is expanding its electrified vehicles research and development program in Europe and Asia this year, creating a “hub-and-spoke” system that allows the global team to further accelerate battery technology and take advantage of market-specific opportunities.
The global expansion also allows Ford’s Electrified Powertrain Engineering teams to share common technologies and test batteries virtually, in real time, to develop new technology faster while reducing the need for costly prototypes.
Iowa State/Ames Lab researcher receives $3M from ARPA-E for solid-state sodium battery
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded $3 million from its 2015 OPEN funding to a project to develop an all-solid-state sodium battery. Led by Steve W. Martin, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in materials science and engineering and an associate of the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, and his research team at Iowa State University, the project’s collaborators include colleagues at the University of Houston; the University of Colorado, Washington State University; and Solid Power Inc.
The proposed Na battery operates at room temperature, uses a benign and scalable solid-stack design for a long cycle life and expects to achieve a 20% improvement in energy density over state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells.
Nissan and Eaton partner on second-life EV battery applications
December 08, 2015
Nissan and Eaton will partner to combine their respective expertise in lithium-ion batteries and power electronics respectively, to bring reliable and cost-competitive second-life energy storage and control technologies to the market.
The partnership will focus on creating commercially viable energy storage and control centers that will provide a sustainable second life for Nissan’s lithium-ion batteries after their automotive usage.
Vanderbilt team develops ultrafast, high capacity and long-lived Na-ion anode
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed and demonstrated an ultrafast Na-ion anode using crystalline few-layered graphene materials made possible through the highly ordered co-intercalation of diglyme solvent, which acts as a “non-stick coating” to facilitate insertion and mitigate desolvation kinetics at the electrode−electrolyte interface.
In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, they report storage capacities above 150 mAh/g; cycling performance with negligible capacity fade over 8000 cycles; and ∼100 mAh/g capacities maintained at currents of 30 A/g (∼12 s charge)—a rate currently only possible using lower-capacity electrochemical supercapacitors.
New thermally durable solid-state Li-ion battery technology from Hitachi and Tohoku University
December 07, 2015
Hitachi, Ltd. and Tohoku University’s Advanced Institute for Material Research (AIMR) have demonstrated technology reducing the internal resistance of all-solid-state lithium ion batteries (Li-ion battery) through the use of LiBH4-based complex hydrides as novel solid electrolytes.
The reduction of internal resistance improves the charge-discharge performance of the all-solid-state Li-ion battery, resulting in the batteries (capacity: 2 mAh, density: 30 Wh/L) successfully operating at temperatures as high as 150 ˚C with a discharge capacity of 90% of theoretical value.
Porsche greenlights Mission E electric sports car; launch at end of decade
December 04, 2015
The supervisory board of Porsche AG today has greenlighted the Mission E—the first 100% electric Porsche. The Mission E battery-electric concept car made its premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September. (Earlier post.) The production vehicle is now due to be launched at the end of the decade.
Along with the Mission E project, Porsche will invest around €700 million in its main site in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Over the next few years, the company will build a new paint shop and a new assembly plant. The existing engine factory is also being expanded for the production of electric motors. In addition, the existing body shop is being enlarged. On top of that come other areas in which the company will be investing in this context, such as in the Weissach development center.
Fraunhofer team develops prototype of intelligent battery cell; lower cost, longer range packs
December 03, 2015
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart have developed a prototype intelligent battery cell that they say could lower the cost of automotive battery packs and extend the range.
Each battery cell has its own built-in microcontroller that records relevant physical parameters, such as the temperature and the state of charge of the cell—i.e., each cell knows its own condition. The cells communicate via the existing power wiring between battery cells; they can also communicate with other devices, such as the on-board controller, which uses the data from the cells to calculate the state of charge.
ARPA-E awards $6.6M to two projects for electrolytes for solid-state batteries for EVs
December 01, 2015
As part of the $125 million awarded to 41 projects under its 2015 OPEN funding (earlier post), ARPA-E has selected two projects developing manufacturing techniques for ceramic electrolytes for solid-state EV batteries for awards of a combined $6.6 million. Of that, $3.5 million will go to a consortium led by the University of Michigan, and $3.1 million will go to Corning Incorporated.
Solid-state Li batteries could double the energy density of today’s Li-ion cells and also eliminate the use of conventional flammable electrolytes, increasing abuse tolerance and reducing the need for battery thermal management systems. ARPA-E has already funded a number of solid-state battery projects (e.g., earlier post). Solid-state batteries face conductivity challenges, however.
New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage
November 29, 2015
The new Audi R18 made its world premiere on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday. Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season.
The LMP1 race car that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 features innovative aerodynamics; represents the next stage in lightweight design; and has a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an efficiency-optimized TDI engine. The 2015 R18 e-tron quattro racer featured an encapsulated WHP flywheel energy storage system that sat in the cockpit alongside the driver. (Earlier post.)
Toyota researchers develop truffle-inspired cathode material for Li-S battery with layer-by-layer self-assembled polymer membrane
November 28, 2015
A team at Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA) (earlier post) has developed a nanostructured sulfur cathode with a truffle-like architecture which comprises a sulfur particle embedded with hollow carbon nanospheres and encapsulated with an ion-selective, flexible layer-by-layer (LBL) nanomembrane decorated with conductive carbon.
In a paper in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the researchers report that such cathodes with a final loading of 65% sulfur can operate at a high rate of 2C (a 1C rate corresponds to a complete charge or discharge in 1 hour) for more than 500 cycles with nearly 100% coulombic efficiency.
French researchers develop sodium-ion battery in 18650 format; performance comparable to Li-ion
November 27, 2015
Researchers within the RS2E network on electrochemical energy storage (Réseau sur le stockage électrochimique de l’énergie) in France have developed the first sodium-ion battery in an 18650 format. The main advantage of the prototype is that it relies on sodium, an element far more abundant and less costly than lithium.
The energy density of the new Na-ion cell is 90 Wh/kg, a figure comparable with the first lithium-ion batteries; its lifespan exceeds 2,000 care/discharge cycles. The cells are also capable of charging and delivering their energy very rapidly. While numerous other laboratories are also working on Na-ion batteries (e.g., earlier post), none has yet announced the development of such an 18650 prototype.
Navitas Systems awarded $7.2M contract to develop Gen 2 Li-ion military vehicle 6T batteries
November 26, 2015
Navitas Systems LLC recently was awarded a four-year $7.2 million contract to develop second generation (Gen 2) lithium-ion batteries for military vehicles.
The US military and most NATO countries to-date have used lead-acid batteries in the 6T form factor to provide starting and energy storage for its ground vehicles. While this system is reliable and fairly inexpensive, it suffers from a number of significant drawbacks including low cycle life, low energy density/specific energy, poor recharge rate compared to other battery chemistries, high weight, and must be used in series pairs to meet the 24V electrical bus requirements on today’s more sophisticated military vehicles.
Navigant Research Leaderboard puts LG Chem as leader for Li-ion batteries for transportation
November 25, 2015
In its latest Leaderboard report on what it sees as the top 8 automotive Li-ion battery companies, Navigant research has put LG Chem in first place, followed closely by Panasonic and Samsung SDI in the “Leaders” segment. To qualify for the Leaders category, a company must perform exceedingly well in strategy and execution.
Navigant’s second category consists of the “Contenders”, which are companies that have exhibited staying power in the market despite relatively slow growth while boasting significant financial reserves for future investment. In the report, these are AESC, BYD, Johnson Controls and A123. Navigant’s third category, “Challengers”, has only Lithium Energy Japan.
ORNL, Solid Power sign exclusive license for lithium-sulfur battery technology
November 24, 2015
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Solid Power Inc. of Louisville, Colo., have signed an exclusive agreement licensing lithium-sulfur materials for next-generation batteries.
Solid Power licensed a portfolio of ORNL patents relating to lithium-sulfur compositions that will enable development of more energy-dense batteries. ORNL’s proof-of-concept battery research has demonstrated the technology’s potential to improve power, operating temperature, manufacturability and cost as well.
Samsung SDI to supply cylindrical Li-ion batteries to JAC Motors for new EV; 50 million 18650 cells next year
November 23, 2015
In a departure from its usual approach of supplying high-capacity prismatic Li-ion cells for automotive applications, Samsung SDI will supply cylindrical 18650 format Li-ion batteries for JAC Motors’ new electric SUV iEV6S, unveiled at the 2015 Guangzhou International Auto Parts & Accessories Exhibition. JAC Motors says that its iEV6S will be the first electric SUV in China to offer more than 250 km (155 miles) of range.
The battery pack for the iEV6S will comprise approximately 3,000 of Samsung SDI’s high-performance 18650 battery cells. Additionally, JAC Motors signed an MOU with Samsung SDI for the supply of 50 million battery cells next year alone.
UMD/USARL team develops “water-in-salt” electrolyte enabling high-voltage aqueous Li-ion chemistries
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD) and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have devised a groundbreaking highly concentrated “Water-in-Salt” electrolyte that could provide power, efficiency and longevity comparable to today’s Lithium-ion batteries, but without the fire risk, poisonous chemicals and environmental hazards of current lithium batteries. A paper on their work is published in the journal Science.
The researchers said their technology holds great promise, particularly in applications that involve large energies at kilowatt or megawatt levels, such as electric vehicles, or grid-storage devices for energy harvest systems, and in applications where battery safety and toxicity are primary concerns, such as safe, non-flammable batteries for airplanes, naval vessels or spaceships, and in medical devices like pacemakers.
ABB joins CharIN; taking Combined Charging System to the next level; 150 kW demos, targeting 350 kW
November 22, 2015
The Charging Interface Initiative association (CharIN) announced earlier this month that ABB has been granted core membership in the association. CharIN was founded by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mennekes, Opel, Phoenix Contact, Porsche, TÜV SÜD and Volkswagen to focus on developing and establishing the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for charging battery-powered electric vehicles of all kinds. ABB—based in the Netherlands—is the first non-German member.
The Combined Charging System is currently the only internationally standardized charging system covering conventional (AC) and different fast charging scenarios with one integrated system approach. It combines single-phase with rapid three-phase charging using alternating current at a maximum of 43 kilowatts (kW), as well as direct-current charging at a maximum of 200 kW. (Earlier post.) The majority of available CCS charging stations and vehicles currently in the market provide direct-current charging at the level of 50 kW.
Audi highlights its range of electrification efforts; Q7 diesel PHEV, A7 fuel cell PHEV, BEV, 48V and more; 750 Wh/l by 2025
November 17, 2015
Audi presented a range of its ongoing work on electromobility and efficiency—from fuels and systems to full vehicles—under the “Future Performance Days 2015” banner.
On the full vehicle side, Audi put forward the Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro plug-in hybrid (earlier post); the Audi A7 h-tron quattro fuel cell vehicle (earlier post); the Audi e-tron quattro concept battery-electric SUV (earlier post); the Audi TT clubsport turbo concept (earlier post); the Audi RS 5 TDI competition concept (earlier post); and the Audi R18 e-tron quattro (earlier post). On the systems and fuels side, Audi discussed battery technology; wireless charging; 48 V electrification (earlier post); Audi fuel cell technology; and Audi e-fuels (earlier post).
DOE releases SBIR/STTR FY16 Phase 1 Release 2 topics; hydrogen, electric vehicles, more efficient combustion engines; biogas-to-fuels
November 16, 2015
The US Department of Energy has announced the 2016 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 Topics, covering eight DOE research program organizations.
Among the many topics listed are magnetocaloric materials development for hydrogen delivery; two hydrogen technology transfer opportunities (TTO); EV traction batteries and power electronics; new combustion engine technologies; and the co-utilization of CO2 and methane in biogas to produce higher hydrocarbon fuels. DOE plans to issue the full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on 30 November 2015.
Sendyne patents novel active battery cell balancing method
November 13, 2015
Sendyne, a developer of precision current and voltage measurement systems and modeling/simulation tools for battery systems and other applications, has been awarded a patent for a novel active cell balancing topology.
Cell balancing is achieved by transferring energy to and from individual cells in a battery pack, with the goal of having all cells operating at the same State of Charge (SOC). Because individual cells in a battery pack will have slightly different capacities, if energy is not redistributed from stronger cells to weaker cells, discharging must end when the cell with the lowest capacity is empty.
Vanderbilt researchers find iron pyrite quantum dots boost performance of sodium-ion and Li-ion batteries
November 12, 2015
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have demonstrated that ultrafine sizes (∼4.5 nm, average) of iron pyrite (FeS2) nanoparticles are advantageous to sustain reversible conversion reactions in sodium ion and lithium ion batteries. A paper on their work is published in the journal ACS Nano.
In the paper, they reported reversible capacities of more than 500 and 600 mAh/g for sodium and lithium storage for ultrafine nanoparticles, along with improved cycling and rate capability. Unlike alloying or intercalation processes, in which the SEI effects limit the performance of ultrafine nanoparticles, the Vanderbilt study highlights the benefit of quantum dot length-scale nanocrystal electrodes for nanoscale metal sulfide compounds that store energy through chemical conversion reactions.
Rice U team develops new class of quasi-solid-state electrolytes; stable performance at high temperatures
November 10, 2015
Researchers at Rice University, with colleagues at Wayne State University, report the development of a new class of quasi-solid-state Li-ion battery electrolytes which have the structural stability of a solid and the wettability of a liquid.
Micro flakes of clay particles drenched in a solution of lithiated Room Temperature Ionic Liquid (RTIL) form a quasi-solid system with structural stability until 355 ˚C. With an ionic conductivity of ~3.35mS cm-1, the composite electrolyte delivers stable electrochemical performance at 120 ˚C. As reported in a paper in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, a rechargeable lithium battery with LTO electrodes and the clay-based electrolyte delivered reliable capacity for over 120 charge/discharge cycles.
LLNL team finds hydrogen treatment improves performance of graphene nanofoam anodes in Li-ion batteries
November 05, 2015
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have found, through experiments and calculations, that hydrogen-treated graphene nanofoam (GNF) anodes in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) show higher capacity and faster transport. The research suggests that controlled hydrogen treatment may be used as a strategy for optimizing lithium transport and reversible storage in other graphene-based anode materials. An open-access paper on their work is published in Nature Scientific Reports.
Commercial applications of graphene materials for energy storage devices, including lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors, hinge critically on the ability to produce these materials in large quantities and at low cost. However, the chemical synthesis methods frequently used leave behind significant amounts of atomic hydrogen, whose effect on the electrochemical performance of graphene derivatives is difficult to determine.
Update on JCESR’s progress toward 5-5-5 battery for EV and grid applications; convergent and divergent research strategies
In 2012, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). (Earlier post.) JCESR combines the R&D capabilities of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort to achieve revolutionary advances in battery performance, with electric cars and the electricity grid as the targets. The goal is a battery five times more powerful and five times cheaper within 5 years.
At the Bay Area Battery Summit held at Berkeley Lab this week, JCESR Director George Crabtree gave an update on the Center’s progress toward the 5-5-5 battery and discussed how the Center is refining its approach now that it is almost three years into the five-year mission. (The JCESR award, based on results, is renewable one time for another 5 years.)
Daimler and partners deploying world’s largest 2nd-life EV battery storage unit for grid support
November 04, 2015
The world’s largest 2nd-life battery storage unit will soon go into operation in the Westphalian town of Lünen. A joint venture between Daimler AG, The Mobility House AG and GETEC, it will be operated from the beginning of next year at the site of REMONDIS SE and marketed in the German electricity balancing sector. The stationary storage unit, with a total capacity of 13 MWh, uses second-life battery systems from the second generation of smart electric drive vehicles.
Under the banner of “E-Mobility thought to the end,” Daimler, The Mobility House, GETEC and REMONDIS are mapping out the entire battery value creation and recycling chain with their project in Lünen. The process demonstrably improves the overall environmental performance of electric vehicles, thereby helping to make e-mobility more economically efficient.
NREL develops Internal Short Circuit (ISC) device to help improve Li-ion battery design
November 03, 2015
Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed and patented an Internal Short Circuit (ISC) device capable of emulating latent defects that can cause escalating temperatures in lithium-ion batteries and lead to thermal runaway. The intent of the ISC is to enhance the designs of Li-ion batteries by testing the effects of a latent internal short circuit and related escalating temperatures, which can lead to thermal runaway and hazards.
NREL joined forces with NASA in developing new, more precise ways to trigger internal short circuits, to predict reactions, and to establish safeguards in the design of battery cells and packs. The resulting first-of-its-kind ISC device is being used by NREL, NASA, and manufacturers to study battery responses to these latent flaws and determine solutions.
1-year customer field trials of FUSO electric Canter in Portugal show 64% lower costs, 37% reduction in CO2 given local power mix
November 02, 2015
Daimler has concluded customer field trials with eight pre-production Fuso Canter E-Cell electric trucks (earlier post) in Portugal. In addition to delivering a 64% savings in operating costs compared to conventional diesel trucks, the Canter E-Cells also reduced CO2 emissions by 37% compared to diesel, taking into account the current power production mix in Portugal.
FUSO developed the battery-powered and locally emission-free Canter E-Cell at the Daimler Trucks Center of Competence for Hybrid Technology. To prove the practicality of the Canter E-Cell, FUSO sent eight of them on a field trial in mid-2014. All eight vehicles travelled the roads of Portugal and were permanently monitored and analyzed during the one-year field trial. The Canter E-Cell trucks were equipped with platforms and box bodies. They were operated by couriers and freight forwarding agents as well as by municipalities and public works departments.
Penn State team develops mathematical formula to predict factors influencing Li-ion battery aging
November 01, 2015
A team of Penn State researchers has developed a mathematical formula to predict what factors most influence lithium-ion battery aging. Volvo Group Trucks Technology supported this work.
Led by Christopher Rahn, professor of mechanical engineering, the team started out developing models for the specific chemistry of batteries used by Volvo Trucks. After showing the models matched experimentally, the researchers focused on simplifying the aging model—a nonlinear, electrolyte-enhanced, single particle model (NESPM) that includes aging due to solid electrolyte interphase layer growth—and have now brought it down to a formula, said Rahn.
Cambridge researchers take new approach to overcome challenges to Li-O2 batteries; laboratory demonstrator
October 30, 2015
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can be recharged more than 2000 times, showing how several of the problems holding back the development of these devices could be solved.
In contrast to standard Li-O2 cells, which cycle via the formation of Li2O2, the Cambridge team used a reduced graphene oxide (rGO) electrode, the additive LiI (lithium iodide), and the solvent dimethoxyethane reversibly to form and remove crystalline LiOH with particle sizes larger than 15 micrometers during discharge and charge. This led to high specific capacities, excellent energy efficiency (93.2%) with a voltage gap of only 0.2 volt, and impressive rechargeability. While the results, reported in the journal Science, are promising, the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.
Berkeley Lab scientists unravel structural ambiguities in Li- and Mn-rich transition metal oxides; importance for high-energy Li-ion cathodes
October 29, 2015
Using complementary microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have “unambiguously” described the crystal structure of lithium- and manganese-rich transition metal oxides (LMRTMOs)—materials of great interest as high-capacity cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Despite their being extensively studied, the crystal structure of these materials in their pristine state was not fully understood.
Researchers have been divided into three schools of thought on the material’s structure. A Berkeley Lab team led by Alpesh Khushalchand Shukla and Colin Ophus spent nearly four years analyzing the material and concluded that the least popular theory is in fact the correct one. Their results were published online in an open-access paper in Nature Communications. Other co-authors were Berkeley Lab scientists Guoying Chen and Hugues Duncan and SuperSTEM scientists Quentin Ramasse and Fredrik Hage.
BASF and Volkswagen present 4th Science Award Electrochemistry to Dr. Bryan McCloskey at UC Berkeley for Li-O2 battery work
October 28, 2015
The fourth international “Science Award Electrochemistry” from BASF and Volkswagen (earlier post) was awarded to Dr. Bryan McCloskey, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. The jury of representatives from BASF, Volkswagen and from academia selected Dr. McCloskey for his outstanding research results in the area of lithium-oxygen batteries.
Dr. McCloskey has analyzed the fundamental electrochemical processes in this type of battery by examining the stability of electrolytes and electrode materials. Through his work, the scientist has decisively contributed to a deeper understanding of lithium-oxygen batteries, the jury concluded. He receives prize money of €50,000 (US$55,000).
U Waterloo, GM R&D team develops new very high-performance silicon-sulfur-graphene electrode for Li-ion batteries
October 27, 2015
Researchers from the University of Waterloo and General Motors Global Research and Development Center have developed a new electrode material for Li-ion batteries that leverages the strong covalent interactions that occur between silicon, sulfur, defects and nitrogen.
In an open-access paper in the journal Nature Communications, they report that the new electrode material shows superior reversible capacity of ~1,033 mAh g−1 for 2,275 cycles at 2 A g−1. The electrode showed a high coulombic efficiency of 99.9%, as well as high aerial capacity of 3.4 mAh cm−2. Professor Zhongwei Chen, leader of the Waterloo team, expects to commercialize this technology and expects to see new batteries on the market within the next year.
Technical review outlines challenges for both batteries and fuel cells as basis for electric vehicles
October 26, 2015
In an open-access invited review for the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Oliver Gröger (earlier post), Volkswagen AG; Dr. Hubert A. Gasteiger, Chair of Technical Electrochemistry, Technische Universität München; and Dr. Jens-Peter Suchsland, SolviCore GmbH, delve into the technological barriers for all-electric vehicles—battery-electric or PEM fuel cell vehicles.
They begin by observing that the EU’s goal of 95 gCO2/km fleet average emissions by 2020 can only be met by means of extended range electric vehicles or all-electric vehicles in combination with the integration of renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar). Based on other studies, they note that without an increasing percentage of renewables in the European electricity generation mix, the only vehicle concept which could meet the 95 gCO2/km target is the pure battery electric vehicles. (Hydrogen produced via electrolysis using the EU mix or by natural gas reforming would exceed the target.)
Dyson buying Li-ion solid-state battery company Sakti3 for $90M
October 19, 2015
USA Today has confirmed an earlier unconfirmed report by Quartz that UK-based Dyson will acquire solid-state Li-ion battery startup Sakti3 (earlier post) for $90 million. Dyson invested $15 million in Sakti3 earlier this year.
James Dyson, founder and chief engineer of the eponymous manufacturing and technology company, told USA Today in an interview that Dyson plans to build a major battery factory and also plans to use Sakti3’s technology to improve the battery life on its cordless vacuums and to deliver new products. The acquisition, noted the report, will fuel speculation that Dyson possibly seek to become a supplier of electric-drivetrain technology.
AKASOL supplying Li-ion battery systems for eight fast-charging electric buses in Cologne
October 15, 2015
AKASOL, a Germany-based provider of high-performance Li-ion battery systems (earlier post), is supplying the Li-ion battery systems for 8 all-electric articulated 18-meter buses, manufactured by VDL Bus & Coach, to be operated by the Cologne public transport company Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe. Both AKASOL and VDL are displaying their battery systems and Citea SLFA Electric articulated bus, respectively, at Busworld.
The VDL buses use AKASOL’s modular AKASYSTEM lithium-ion battery system in a 4 x 15M configuration in every bus. Each AKASYSTEM 15M is rated at 460 kW, 35 kWh, and 666 V and weighs 314 kg. The high-performance liquid-cooled battery system offers a charging capacity of more than 300 kilowatts and has an overall useable energy content of more than 100 kWh.
New high-performance Na-ion battery with SO2-based catholyte; potential for other non-Li-metal-based battery systems
October 13, 2015
Researchers in South Korea have demonstrated new type of room-temperature and high-energy density sodium rechargeable battery using a sulfur dioxide (SO2)-based inorganic molten complex catholyte that serves as both a Na+-conducting medium and cathode material (i.e. catholyte).
As reported in an open access paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the new battery showed a discharge capacity of 153 mAh g−1 based on the mass of catholyte and carbon electrode with an operating voltage of 3 V; good rate capability; and excellent cycle performance over 300 cycles. In particular, the researchers suggested, the non-flammability and intrinsic self-regeneration mechanism of the new inorganic liquid electrolyte can accelerate the commercialization of Na rechargeable batteries.
Opinon: Lithium Market Set To Explode; All Eyes Are On Nevada
October 09, 2015
by James Stafford of Oilprice.com
While other commodities are floundering or completely collapsing in this market, lithium—the critical mineral in the emerging battery gigafactory war—is poised to explode, and going forward Nevada is emerging as the front line in this pending American lithium boom.
Most of the world’s lithium comes from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia and China, but American resources being developed by new entrants into this market have set up the state of Nevada to become the key venue and proving ground for game-changing trade in this everyday mineral. Nevada is about to get a boost first from Tesla’s upcoming battery gigafactory, and then from all of its rivals.
Oregon State researchers demonstrate potassium-ion (K-ion) battery
October 07, 2015
Researchers at Oregon State University have shown that potassium can work with graphite in a potassium-ion battery (KIB)—a discovery that could offer a challenge and sustainable alternative to the widely-used lithium-ion battery (LIB). Their findings are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. A patent is pending on the new technology.
In their study, they showed that potassium can be reversibly inserted into graphite with a high capacity of 273 mAh/g in electrochemical cells. Upon potassiation, the stage-one KC8 forms via stage-three KC36 and stage-two KC24 as intermediate phases in which the phase transformations are reversible in converting KC8 back to a less crystalline graphite.
USABC awards $1.64M to NOHMs Technologies for development of ionic liquid electrolytes for Li-ion batteries
October 05, 2015
The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, recently awarded $1.64 million contract to NOHMs (Nano Organic Hybrid Materials) Technologies in Rochester, New York, for the development of electrolytes for automotive lithium-ion battery applications.
The 18-month program will focus on the development of functional, ionic liquid-based electrolyte and co-solvent combinations that exhibit high ionic conductivity and stability for application in 4.6-5.0-volt lithium-ion batteries, consistent with USABC goals.
LISSEN researchers develop energy-dense Li-metal free Li-sulfur battery; Volkswagen the automotive partner
October 03, 2015
EU-funded researchers in the €3.7-million (US$4.2-million) LISSEN (Lithium Sulfur Superbattery Exploiting Nanotechnology) project have developed a new energy-dense lithium-sulfur battery using a new lithium metal-free battery configuration based on the use of lithiated silicon as the anode and a nanostructured sulfur-carbon composite as the cathode. The goal of the project was the development of an advanced battery cell for application in electric vehicles; Volkswagen was the automotive partner in the group.
The battery offers an energy density at least three times higher than that available from the present lithium battery technology, a comparatively long cycle life, a much lower cost (replacement of cobalt-based with a sulfur-based cathode) and a high degree of safety (no use of a lithium-metal anode).
Oak Ridge/Drexel team produces supercapacitor electrodes from scrap tires
September 28, 2015
By employing proprietary pretreatment and processing, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Drexel University have produced flexible polymer carbon composite films from scrap tires for use as electrodes for supercapacitors.
The first synthesized highly porous carbon (1625 m2 g−1) using waste tires as the precursor. The narrow pore-size distribution and high surface area led to good charge storage capacity, especially when used as a three-dimensional nanoscaffold to polymerize polyaniline (PANI). The resulting composite paper was highly flexible, conductive, and exhibited a capacitance of 480 F g−1 at 1 mV s−1 with excellent capacitance retention of up to 98% after 10,000 charge/discharge cycles.
Lux: VW “actually in a strong position to innovate their way out of this mess”
Reflecting on the implications of the still evolving Volkswagen emissions testing scandal (“a vehicle emissions scandal of unprecedented proportions”), analysts at Lux Research suggest that one outcome of the crisis could be an aggressive push by Volkswagen to accelerate the push towards plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
VW was slowly moving beyond conventional gasoline and diesel engines anyway, Lux noted, with plans of putting out 20 more plug-in vehicles by 2020 (earlier post)—such as the production version of the Audi e-tron quattro. (Earlier post.) Volkswagen has also invested in next-generation batteries, including lithium-sulfur and solid-state. (Earlier post.)
AKASOL battery pack powering ZF’s electric Advanced Urban Vehicle concept
September 25, 2015
An 8-module Li-ion traction battery from AKASOL GmbH powers the ZF electric Advanced Urban Vehicle concept presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. AKASOL is a supplier of Li-ion batteries for high-performance applications. (Earlier post.)
The 8 modules of the AKASYSTEM battery are configured 2/3/3 in 3 system units and can thus be placed in the free spaces at the front and rear axle for efficient packaging. The 16.3 kWh battery pack features a charging power of 49 kW.
Audi’s e-tron quattro EV: evolutionary powertrain with a dash of revolution for production in 2018; MLB evo
September 24, 2015
Audi’s e-tron quattro battery-electric SUV concept, which made its formal debut at IAA in Frankfurt (earlier post), is a strong indicator of Audi’s series-production electric SUV due in 2018—especially in terms of the powertrain.
The e-tron quattro is based on Audi’s MLB evo—the second-generation of the modular longitudinal matrix toolkit (MLB, earlier post), and is, at the same time, potentially contributing to the development of the elements of that toolkit, especially with respect to a modular electric drive component. This could eventually have a role comparable to that of the Volkswagen Group’s modular diesel and modular gasoline engine kits (MDB and MOB). (“Baukasten” = German for construction kit)
UT Austin team identifies promising new cathode material for sodium-ion batteries: eldfellite
Professor John Goodenough, the inventor of the lithium-ion battery, and his team at the University of Texas at Austin have identified a new cathode material made of the nontoxic and inexpensive mineral eldfellite (NaFe(SO4)2), presenting a significant advancement in the quest for a commercially viable sodium-ion battery. (Edfellite was first found among fumarolic encrustations collected in 1990 on the Eldfell volcano, Heimaey Island, Iceland.) The researchers reported their findings in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
Sodium-ion intercalation batteries—i.e., using the same process of ion insertion and removal as Li-ion batteries—have emerged as a promising new type of rechargeable battery and a potentially attractive alternative to lithium-ion batteries because sodium is abundant and inexpensive, and the sodium batteries would be safer. (Earlier post.) In contrast, lithium-ion batteries are limited by high production costs and availability of lithium.
New Freescale highly integrated battery cell controller optimized for 14V Li-ion packs
September 19, 2015
Freescale Semiconductor introduced the MC33772 3- to 6-cell lithium-ion battery cell controller, expanding its portfolio of highly integrated and connected solutions for reducing bill of materials (BOM) cost, increasing operating robustness and meeting stringent functional safety requirements for automotive and industrial battery systems.
Together with its previously announced MC33771 14-cell battery cell controller, the MC33772 product expands Freescale’s hardware- and software-compatible battery cell controller portfolio to encompass a full range of single chip 3- to 14-cell solutions. Freescale’s comprehensive cell controller portfolio supports a broad array of battery chemistries, including lithium iron phosphate, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, lithium titanate, and lithium polymer. In addition, Freescale battery cell controllers feature advanced diagnostics and functional verification supporting ISO 26262 ASIL-C requirements within a single chip.
Li-S company OXIS and Hyperdrive Innovation partner on ultra-low temperature Li-S battery; -80 ˚C
September 18, 2015
Electronic vehicle systems developer Hyperdrive Innovation Ltd and Li-sulfur battery developer OXIS Energy Ltd are working together on an Ultra-Low Temperature Battery (ULTB) project, supported by Innovate UK’s energy catalyst, to explore the feasibility of a high energy density battery chemistry with innovative packaging and control electronics that will be capable of operating in the Antarctic.
Such a battery would allow British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to increase autonomous scientific measurements made in the Antarctic significantly without increasing transport costs or emissions. OXIS Energy will develop a low temperature electrolyte for Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) rechargeable battery chemistry and Hyperdrive Innovation Ltd will develop a chemistry-agnostic battery management system and packaging that will withstand and outperform the current lead-acid battery solutions.
DOE awards nearly $55M to advance fuel efficient vehicle technologies in support of EV Everywhere and SuperTruck
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding nearly $55 million for 24 projects to develop and deploy advanced vehicle technologies, supporting the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable to own and operate as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022.
Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance with the Energy Department, the Department of the Army is contributing an additional $2.26 million in co-funding to support projects focused on battery modeling technologies and computational fluid dynamics.
Johnson Controls expanding global production of AGM batteries for start-stop systems; $555M investment from 2011 to 2020
September 16, 2015
In anticipation of increasing demand for start-stop systems, Johnson Controls is adding Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery production capacity. AGM battery technology is at this point the dominant start-stop energy storage technology.
The market for new vehicle and aftermarket Start-Stop batteries could rise to 56 million worldwide by 2020, compared to 22 million today. In this time frame, 85% of all new vehicles in Europe and 40% in the US and China are expected to be powered with Start-Stop batteries. With $555 million in investments between 2011 and 2020, the company is implementing plans to expand AGM production capacity in Germany, the United States and China.
Bosch highlighting solid-state Li-ion cells; double current energy density, production-ready in 5 years
September 15, 2015
At the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Bosch is highlighting its solid-state Li-ion battery technology, saying that the technology for electric cars could be production-ready in as little as five years. The acquisition of the US start-up Seeo Inc. (earlier post) will help make this possible, Bosch said. In addition to its own development in the area of battery technology, Bosch now has crucial know-how in innovative solid-state cells for lithium batteries as well as exclusive patents.
With the new solid-state cells, Bosch sees the potential to more than double energy density by 2020, and at the same time reduce the costs considerably further. A comparable electric car that has a driving range today of 150 kilometers (93 miles) would be able to travel more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) without recharging—and at a lower cost.
Continental Voltage Stabilization System with Maxwell Ultracapacitors to power start-stop in Cadillac ATS and CTS as standard
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced that Continental Automotive Systems’ Maxwell-powered voltage stabilization system (VSS) will be a standard feature on 2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. General Motors is the first North American automotive OEM to integrate the Continental ultracapacitor-based voltage stabilization as part of the enhanced start-stop system, which lowers fuel costs, improves performance and reduces emissions, delivering an overall superior owner-driver experience.
There are currently some 1.5 million vehicles on the road in Europe with the Maxwell-based Continental VSS, said Marty Mills, regional sales manager, ultracapacitor products, Central North America.
Hybrid cellular nanosheets show promise as basis for high performance anodes for Li-ion batteries
September 14, 2015
Researchers in S. Korea have developed a simple synthetic method for producing carbon-based hybrid cellular nanosheets that exhibit strong electrochemical performance for many key aspects of high-performance lithium-ion battery anodes. The nanosheets consist of close-packed cubic cavity cells partitioned by carbon walls, resembling plant leaf tissue.
Loading the carbon cellular nanosheets with SnO2 nanoparticles as a model system, the team found that the resulting anode materials showed a specific capacity of 914 mAh g–1 on average with a retention of 97.0% during 300 cycles. When the cycling current density was increased from 200 to 3000 mA g–1, the reversible capacity was decreased by only 20% from 941.3 to 745.5 mAh g–1. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Williams: Formula E battery power to increase to 170 kW for season two; 70 kWh pack for Evoque-E
September 11, 2015
Williams Advanced Engineering, the sole supplier of the battery packs for the FIA Formula E Championship, confirmed that the maximum power output of the batteries for the racers will increase to 170kW during each race in season two of the Championship.
The 28 kWh (maximum usable) battery packs, which use cells from XALT Energy (earlier post), were initially designed to meet season one technical specifications from the FIA and operated during a race at a maximum power of 133 kW. Following successful pre-season testing this was increased to 150kW for the start of season one to increase the performance of the cars.
New class of high-capacity cation-disordered oxides for Li-ion battery cathodes; up to 250 mAh/g
September 09, 2015
Researchers from MIT, Argonne National Laboratory and UC Berkeley led by Dr. Gerbrand Ceder (now at UC Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley Lab as of 1 July, formerly at MIT) have developed a new class of high capacity cation-disordered oxides—lithium-excess nickel titanium molybdenum oxides (Li-Ni-Ti-Mo, or LNTMO)—for Li-ion cathode materials which deliver capacities up to 250 mAh/g. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
In the rechargeable Li-ion battery, cathodes reversibly release and insert (de-intercalation and intercalation) lithium ions during charge and discharge, respectively. Intercalation and de-intercalation must not cause permanent change to the crystal structure of the material over cycling, lest capacity fade. Conventionally, electrochemists have looked to well-ordered close-packed oxides for cathode materials, especially layered rocksalt-type lithium–transition metal oxides (Li-TM oxides) and ordered spinels. In a 2014 paper in Science, however, Dr. Ceder and his colleagues outlined the potential for disordered materials.
Saft America receives $6.13M USABC award for lithium-ion 12V stop-start battery technology development
August 31, 2015
Saft America Inc. has received a competitively bid, $6.13-million award from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE) for 12-volt stop-start battery technology development. The contract includes a 50% cost-share by Saft.
The 30-month contract will focus on the development and delivery of lithium-ion 12-volt modules for vehicle stop-start battery applications consistent with USABC goals based on Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery technologies along with battery management electronics.
Lionano in license agreement with Cornell for development and production of new hollow structured metal oxide anode material for LIBs
Lionano Inc. announced an agreement with Cornell University’s Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) for the development and production of an innovative drop-in anode material for use in lithium-ion batteries.
The drop-in consists of a hollow structured metal oxide material that can substantially reduce the volumetric expansion of a conventional anode, according to the company. This material can exhibit a capacity of 900 mAh/g at 0.2C with more than 90% active material content. Lionano tested the material in a scaled-up batch of more than 50 kg of material, and found that it demonstrates superior stability over 2,000 cycles. The hollow structure, with nano- and microscale properties, facilitates electron transfer and enhances structural robustness.
Lux: Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo risky but worthwhile; likely start of a spree of buying advanced battery developers
August 28, 2015
Commenting on Bosch’s newly revealed acquisition of Seeo, the Berkeley Lab spin-out developing solid-state Li-ion batteries (earlier post), Lux Research noted that the acquisition marks the first instance of a major automotive player outright acquiring a next-generation battery developer (although some OEMs, e.g., GM and Volkswagen Group, have already invested in advanced battery companies).
The Bosch-Seeo link up highlights the strategic importance of advanced energy storage for the automotive value chain. However, noted Lux Research Senior Analyst, Cosmin Laslau, the acquisition “has some wrinkles that make it a risky bet for Bosch.” Among the observations:
Report: Bosch buying solid-state Li-ion battery company Seeo
August 27, 2015
Quartz today reported that Bosch has agreed to acquire Berkeley Lab solid-state Li-ion battery spinoff Seeo. Seeo’s cell design couples a solid lithium metal anode with a conventional porous lithium iron phosphate cathode and Seeo’s nanostructured solid polymer electrolyte (“DryLite”). The electrolyte is entirely solid-state with no flammable or volatile components.
In January 2015, Seeo was awarded a contract for technology assessment from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. Under the contract, Seeo will deliver its DryLyte battery modules to USABC for testing under a 9-month assessment program. These modules are based on Seeo’s current cell technology, which provides an energy density of 220 Wh/kg. (Earlier post.)
Very high-performance silicon anodes with engineered graphene assemblies
Researchers in China have developed a self-supporting high-performance silicon anode for Li-ion batteries (LIBs) consisting of silicon-nanoparticle-impregnated assemblies of templated carbon-bridged oriented graphene.
The binder-free anodes demonstrate exceptional lithium storage performances, simultaneously attaining high gravimetric capacity (1390 mAh g–1 at 2 A g–1 with respect to the total electrode weight); high volumetric capacity (1807 mAh cm–3—more than three times that of graphite anodes); remarkable rate capability (900 mAh g–1 at 8 A g–1); excellent cyclic stability (0.025% decay per cycle over 200 cycles); and competing areal capacity (as high as 4 and 6 mAh cm–2 at 15 and 3 mA cm–2, respectively) that approaches the level of commercial lithium-ion batteries. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
DOE awarding $10M to 8 transportation technology incubator projects; single-fuel RCCI with reformer
August 26, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $10 million to eight incubator projects to develop innovative solutions for efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle technologies that will help reduce petroleum use in the United States. Among the projects is a novel implementation of RCCI—Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition, usually investigated with two fuels (earlier post)—using a single fuel with onboard fuel reformation.
Through the incubator activity, the Energy Department supports innovative technologies and solutions that have the potential to help meet program goals but are not substantially represented in its current research portfolio. These projects bring a more diverse group of stakeholders and participants to address technical challenges in the vehicle research priorities. Eventually, successfully demonstrated technologies or approaches from the incubator activity may impact existing long-term technology plans and roadmaps. Awardees include:
Skeleton Technologies and Adgero introduce ultracap-based KERS system for truck trailers
UK-based ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies and France-based Adgero SARL are introducing an ultracapacitor-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for truck trailers. The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimized for intermodal road transport solutions.
The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of Skeleton high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.
ETH Zurich team develops new low-temp synthesis route for high-conductivity garnet structures for solid-state Li-ion batteries
August 20, 2015
Ga-doped Li7La3Zr2O12 (Ga-LLZO) garnet structures are promising electrolytes for all-solid state Li-ion-batteries. LLZO not only has a high ionic conductivity of 10-4 S cm-1, which greatly surpasses that of all the other garnets, it also has excellent stability even in molten Li. Unlike many other solid electrolytes, LLZO does not suffer from conductivity degradation upon exposure to humid atmospheres. (Earlier post.)
However, the synthesis of garnet-type fast Li-ion conductors depends upon conventional sol–gel and solid state syntheses and sintering that are usually done at temperatures above 1050 ˚C. This process results in micron-sized particles and potential Li-loss, which are unfavorable for further processing and electrode–electrolyte assembly. Now, a team at ETH Zurich has developed a novel low-temperature synthesis-processing route to stabilize the cubic phase of LLZO, while keeping the nanocrystallites at ~200–300 nm. Their paper is published in the RSC journal Journal of Materials Chemistry A.
EU launches $7.6M ALISE to develop Li-sulfur batteries for plug-ins; targeting stable 500 Wh/kg cell by 2019
August 19, 2015
Under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the EU has launched ALISE (Advanced Lithium Sulfur battery for xEV), a pan-European collaboration focused on the development and commercial scale-up of new materials and on the understanding of the electrochemical processes involved in lithium-sulfur technology. The €6,899,233 (US$7.6 million) project is focused on achieving a stable 500 Wh/kg Li-S cell by 2019.
ALISE includes the development of the key components of the cell—anode, cathode and electrolyte—and will culminate in an ultra-lightweight 17 kWh battery for a SEAT (a member of the Volkswagen Group) vehicle for testing on-track and public roads. LEITAT is the lead organization involved and will co-ordinate and manage the entire project, which also incorporates dedicated durability, testing and lifecycle analysis (LCA) activities to deliver safety, adequate cyclability and competitive cost.
Lux suggests how LG Chem might overtake EV battery leader Panasonic
August 18, 2015
Panasonic is currently the runaway leader in the nascent battery market for electric vehicles, but LG Chem has the potential to overtake it in what will be a $30 billion market in 2020, according to a new report—“Watch the Throne: How LG Chem and Others Can Take Panasonic’s EV Battery Crown by 2020”—by Lux Research.
Panasonic’s 39% share of the battery market for plug-in vehicles makes it the leading supplier, but its reliance on a single deal with EV leader Tesla leaves it vulnerable, according to the consultancy. Panasonic lead rival LG Chem has already signed up large automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Ford. In the event of a surge in sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by the German manufacturers, LG Chem would only need to win over Japan’s Nissan to topple Panasonic.
Atomic Layer Deposition process for highly conductive LiPON for solid-state batteries
August 17, 2015
Researchers at the University of Maryland have demonstrated the first reported atomic layer deposition (ALD) process for the solid lithium electrolyte lithium phosphorous oxynitride (LiPON). An open access paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Chemical Materials.
The ALD process features a combination of highly tunable thickness during growth; tunable N content; and the ability to conformally deposit LiPON on high-aspect-ratio nanostructures. The result, the authors suggested in their paper, is a desirable and very attractive combination for incorporating solid electrolyte layers onto challenging electrode geometries in both 3D solid state micro-/nanobatteries and as protection layers in metal anode-based beyond Li batteries.
University of Washington team develops new robust approach to solving battery models
August 15, 2015
A team at the University of Washington (Seattle) led by Dr. Venkat Subramanian has developed an approach that helps solve battery models without knowing the exact initial conditions and without having to use a Newton Raphson iteration (a method for finding successively better approximations of a real-valued function) or a nonlinear solver. Source code and details are available at the Modeling, Analysis and Process-control Laboratory for Electrochemical Systems (MAPLE) Lab at the university. A paper on the approach is newly published in the journal Computers & Chemical Engineering.
The approach enables solving lithium-ion and other battery/electrochemical storage models accurately in a robust manner in a cheap microcontroller with minimum memory requirements. A disclosure has been filed with the University of Washington to apply for a provisional patent for battery models and Battery Management System for transportation, storage and other applications. In particular, use of this single step avoids initialization issues/(no need to initialize separately) for parameter estimation, state estimation or optimal control of battery models.
NSF funds new center for advanced 2-D coatings; energy conversion and storage
August 13, 2015
A new NSF-funded Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) at Penn State and Rice University will study the design and development of advanced coatings based on two-dimensional (2D) layered materials to solve fundamental scientific and technological challenges that include: corrosion, oxidation and abrasion, friction and wear, energy storage and harvesting, and the large-scale synthesis and deposition of novel multifunctional coatings.
The Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings, (ATOMIC), is one of more than 80 Industry/University Cooperative Research Program centers established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage scientific collaboration between academia and industry. It is the only NSF center dedicated to the development of advanced 2-D coatings.
Audi: upcoming battery-electric SUV to use LG Chem and Samsung SDI cell modules; 311-mile range
Audi announced that it will develop the battery for a purely electrically powered sport utility vehicle on the basis of battery cell modules from the South Korean suppliers LG Chem and Samsung SDI. The two Audi partners plan to invest in the cell technology in Europe and will supply the Ingolstadt-based car producer from their European plants.
The new technology will give drivers of the Audi sport utility vehicle a range of more than 500 kilometers (311 miles). At Audi’s Annual General Meeting in May, the company announced it was developing a sporty SUV with electric drive, which is to be launched in 2018. (Earlier post.)
Nankai University team in pursuit of a Li-CO2 battery
August 12, 2015
Researchers at Nankai University in China report their latest advance in developing a rechargeable Li-CO2 battery with the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with high electrical conductivity and porous three-dimensional networks as air cathodes for the rechargeable metal-CO2 batteries. A paper on the work is published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications. (Zhang Zhang et al. 2015).
The team had earlier reported on the introduction of graphene as a cathode material which significantly improved the performance of Li–CO2 batteries, which displayed a superior discharge capacity and enhanced cycle stability. (Xin Zhang et al. 2015) The use of CNTs in the latest study, while extending cycle stability, reduced capacity.
Separator coated with boron-nitride nanosheets improves stability of Li metal anodes
August 11, 2015
Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a thermally conductive separator coated with boron-nitride (BN) nanosheets to improve the stability of Li metal anodes for us in high energy density Li-ion batteries. Hexagonal boron nitride (“white graphene”) is a 2D material that offers chemical stability, electrical insulation, and very high thermal conductivity (e.g., earlier post).
In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the researchers report that using the BN-coated separator in a conventional organic carbonate-based electrolyte results in the Coulombic efficiency stabilizing at 92% over 100 cycles at a current rate of 0.5 mA/cm2 and 88% at 1.0 mA/cm2. They suggested that the improved Coulombic efficiency and reliability of the Li metal anodes is due to the more homogeneous thermal distribution resulting from the thermally conductive BN coating and to the smaller surface area of initial Li deposition.
ILL team uses neutron scattering to elucidate structure and dynamics of superionic conductor Li4C60; potential for batteries and fuel cells
August 05, 2015
Researchers at the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), a leading international research center for neutron science and technology, and their colleagues have elucidated the structure and dynamics of the solid superionic conductor Li4C60 using neutron scattering. Their paper is published in the journal Physical Review B.
When atoms of alkali-metals such as lithium (Li) are added to cage-like Buckminsterfullerene molecules (C60 buckyballs), the buckyballs undergo polymerization, forming long chains that create a material with a range of new properties. Despite being a solid, Li4C60 displays an ionic conductivity comparable to that of liquid electrolytes, even at room temperature. This has led to suggestions that this material could find use in future fuel-cells or batteries.
MIT/Tsinghua high-rate aluminum yolk-shell nanoparticle anode for Li-ion battery with long cycle life and high capacity
A team of researchers at MIT and Tsinghua University has developed a high-rate, high-capacity and long-lived anode for Li-ion batteries comprising a yolk-shell nanocomposite of aluminum core (30 nm in diameter) and TiO2 shell (~3 nm in thickness), with a tunable interspace (Al@TiO2, or ATO).
In an open access paper in the journal Nature Communications, they reported that the Al yolk-shell anode achieved a 10 C charge/discharge rate with reversible capacity exceeding 650 mAh g−1 after 500 cycles, with a 3 mg cm−2 loading. At 1 C, the capacity is approximately 1,200 mAh g−1 after 500 cycles. The one-pot synthesis route is simple and industrially scalable, and the result may “reverse the lagging status of aluminum among high-theoretical-capacity anodes,” they noted.
3M and LG Chem enter into NMC patent license agreements; cathode materials for Li-ion batteries
August 04, 2015
3M and LG Chem have entered into a patent license agreement to further expand the use of nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries. Under the agreement, 3M grants LG Chem a license to US Patents 6,660,432 (Paulsen et al.); 6,964,828 (Lu and Dahn); 7,078,128 (Lu and Dahn); 8,685,565 (Lu and Dahn); and 8,241,791 (Lu and Dahn) and all global equivalents including in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China and Europe.
3M’s battery laboratory collaborated with Professor Jeff Dahn and students at Dalhousie University on the NMC technology. 3M developed a number of compositions of the NMC material, including NMC 111 (for energy and power); NMC 442 (for energy and power); and an optimized high-power NMC 111 composition with high porosity. (Earlier post.) LG Chem had earlier licensed the NMC technology developed at Argonne National Laboratory (Thackeray) (licensed to BASF as a supplier).
OSU team develops new aqueous lithium-iodine solar flow battery; 20% energy savings over Li-I batteries
August 02, 2015
After debuting the first solar air battery—a photo-assisted charging Li-O2 battery—last fall (earlier post), researchers at The Ohio State University led by Professor Yiying Wu have now developed a new system combining a solar cell and a battery into a single device.
The new aqueous lithium−iodine (Li−I) solar flow battery (SFB) incorporates a built-in dye-sensitized TiO2 photoelectrode in a Li−I redox flow battery via linkage of an I3−/I− based catholyte for the simultaneous conversion and storage of solar energy. During the photo-assisted charging process, I− ions are photo-electrochemically oxidized to I3−, harvesting solar energy and storing it as chemical energy.