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[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.]

Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

April 27, 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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Sendyne introduces first isolation monitor for EVs and HEVs capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during dynamic operation

Sendyn, a provider of technologies for battery system management including current, voltage and temperature measurement ICs and modules (earlier post), has introduced the SIM100, a new type of automotive-rated isolation monitoring safety device that is capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during the dynamic operation of high-voltage unearthed systems—such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

The SIM100 module is the first device of its kind capable of unambiguously detecting the electrical isolation state of a high-voltage system while the system is active and operating, and experiencing large voltage variations. State-of-the-art technology today is limited to detecting only resistive leakages and only when the system voltage does not vary significantly. In another first, the SIM100 detects both resistive leakages and capacitively stored energy that could be harmful to human operators.

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PNNL team uncovers reaction mechanisms of Li-air batteries; how batteries blow bubbles

Lithium-air batteries are looked to by many as a very high-energy density next-generation energy storage solution for electric vehicles. However, the technology has several holdups, including losing energy as it stores and releases its charge.The reaction mechanisms are, in general, not well understood.

One reaction that hasn’t been fully explained is how oxygen blows bubbles inside a lithium-air battery when it discharges. The bubbles expand the battery and create wear and tear that can cause it to fail. Now, researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have provided the first step-by-step explanation of how lithium-air batteries form bubbles. The paper is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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New high-power, fast-charging, safe and long-life Li-ion battery

April 25, 2017

Researchers from Sweden, Italy and Germany have proposed and demonstrated a novel full Li-ion cell that is able to cycle for thousands of cycles at 1000 mAg−1 with a capacity retention of 65% at cycle 2000.

The cell uniquely combines a nanostructured TiO2-based anode with a tailored 1-D tubular morphology; a LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4-based cathode (LNMO) with a finely tuned stoichiometry and a surface layer obtained through a single-stage, simple, cheap and easy-scalable mechanochemical milling route followed by high temperature annealing in air; and a composite liquid electrolyte formed by a mixture of LiPF6, ethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate and Py1,4PF6 ionic liquid. An open access paper on the work is published in Scientific Reports.

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DOE SBV Pilot selects 38 small business for labs partnerships; 2 fuel cell and 4 vehicle projects

April 24, 2017

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot has selected eight DOE national labs for collaborations with 38 small businesses in the third round of funding. Among these are two projects in the fuel cells area and four projects in the vehicle area. Other projects address advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, geothermal, solar, water and wind technologies.

In the first two rounds of the program, 12 DOE national labs received funding to partner with 76 small businesses. With the latest announcement, SBV will have awarded approximately $22 million to support partnerships between 114 US small businesses and the national labs.

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UC Riverside team fabricates nanosilicon anodes for Li-ion batteries from waste glass bottles

April 23, 2017

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to fabricate nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

Coin cell batteries made using the glass bottle-based silicon anodes greatly outperformed traditional batteries in laboratory tests. Carbon-coated glass derived-silicon (gSi@C) electrodes demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance with a capacity of ~1420 mAh g-1 at C/2 rate after 400 cycles. An open access paper describing the research was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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Aqua Metals acquires Ebonex IPR and its bipolar ceramic lead-acid battery technology; less lead, lighter weight

April 18, 2017

Aqua Metals, which is commercializing a non-polluting electrochemical lead recycling technology called AquaRefining (earlier post), has acquired UK-based Ebonex IPR Limited for 123,776 shares of Aqua Metals common stock and $100,000 in cash. Ebonex is a pre-revenue IP-based company that has developed patented technology in the field of advanced materials and manufacturing methods for advanced lead acid batteries.

Aqua Metals says that Ebonex’s advanced materials have the potential to advance lead acid chemistry with higher energy density, increased cycle life and faster charging.  If successful, this could mean high performance lead acid batteries that can be distributed through existing closed loop supply chains and then fully recycled.

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UC Riverside team develops new coating strategy for Li-metal anodes to prevent dendrite formation

A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside has developed an approach to addressing the vexing problem of dendrite formation that hobbles the use of high energy density lithium-metal anodes in advanced recyclable batteries.

The new universal strategy, described in a paper in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials, uses in situ formation of an interfacial coating with methyl viologen to achieve stable cycling of lithium metal anode. After treating the lithium metal layer with 0.5 wt % methyl viologen in the ether electrolyte, a highly uniform, stable, and ionically conductive interfacial coating can be formed on the surface because of the electrochemical reduction. The coating layer can generate better control of the lithium ion flow and suppress the lithium dendrite growth and therefore form a uniform and stable solid electrolyte interphase.

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GE and SCE unveil first battery-gas turbine hybrid system

GE and Southern California Edison (SCE) unveiled the first battery-gas turbine hybrid system in Norwalk, California: the LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine (Hybrid EGT). The hybrid system, the first of two to be deployed at SCE sites, was developed in response to changing regulations and grid requirements in the wake of the devastating gas leak from California’s Aliso Canyon storage facility and will ultimately support increasing renewable energy capacity on the California grid.

This hybrid system supports SCE’s increasing renewable energy capacity by providing quick start, fast ramping capabilities when they are needed. The unit integrates a 10 MW, 4.3 MWh Li-ion battery energy storage system, capable of immediately providing power with GE’s proven 50MW LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine, which offers 56% combined cycle efficiency.

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New prototype rechargeable lithium-nitrogen battery

April 16, 2017

As the most abundant gas in Earth’s atmosphere, nitrogen has been an attractive option as a source of renewable energy. But nitrogen gas—which consists of two nitrogen atoms held together by a strong, triple covalent bond—doesn’t break apart under normal conditions, presenting a challenge to scientists who want to transfer the chemical energy of the bond into electricity.

Now, researchers in China have developed a rechargeable lithium-nitrogen (Li-N–) battery with the proposed reversible reaction of 6Li + N– ⇋ 2Li–N. The assembled N– fixation battery system, consisting of a Li anode, ether-based electrolyte, and a carbon cloth cathode, shows a promising electrochemical faradic efficiency (59%).

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Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso to form JV to produce automotive Li-ion battery packs in India

April 14, 2017

Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, and Denso Corporation have reached basic agreement on establishing a joint venture company for production of automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India, and signed the agreement. The initial capital expenditure will be ¥20 billion (US$184 million). The joint venture company will be capitalized at ¥2 billion (US$18.4 million), with the planned participation ratio of Suzuki 50%, Toshiba 40% and Denso 10% respectively.

The battery pack manufacturing joint venture by the three companies will provide a stable supply of lithium-ion battery packs in India. The joint venture company will be established within 2017 and will move to manufacturing phase at earliest possible timing.

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UK APC awards US$77M to seven low-carbon transportation R&D projects

April 11, 2017

The UK Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has awarded £62 million (US$77 million) from its sixth round of funding to projects led by BMW Motorsport, New Holland Agriculture, Jaguar Land Rover, Williams Advanced Engineering, Penso Consulting, Ford Motor Company and Westfield Sportscars, to develop innovative low carbon transportation technology in the UK.

Projects cover a wide range of innovations, which will are intended to help the UK to become a global leader in low emissions technology. They include the development of an affordable hybrid powertrain for niche vehicle applications, such as autonomous pods, as well as a project to address significant gaps in the UK electrification supply chain. Projects include:

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Report: Hyundai developing solid-state EV batteries itself

April 08, 2017

Citing “sources close to the matter,” the Korea Herald reports that Hyundai Motor is developing solid-state batteries for its electric vehicles, and has established pilot-scale production facilities.

“Hyundai is developing solid-state batteries through its Namyang R&D Center’s battery precedence development team and it has secured a certain level of technology,” the source told The Korea Herald.

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New bio-inspired macro-meso-microporous material offers significant improvement in battery performance

April 07, 2017

A international team of researchers has emulated biological systems and designed multi-scale macro–meso–microporous materials which offer a unique performance boost for applications benefitting from highly enhanced mass transfer and exchange. Examples include photocatalysis, gas sensing and as Li-ion battery electrodes. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

The materials deliver 5-, 25- or 40-fold increases in reaction rates compared to unimodal mesoporous materials, when used as photocatalysts, gas sensors or electrodes for Li-ion batteries, respectively.They obtained superior rate capability (∼870 mAh g−1 at 20 A g−1) and high reversible capacity—25 times higher than that of state-of-the-art Li-ion anodes at a similar rate.

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A123: Increasing 48V battery power up to ~25 kW enables advanced mild hybrid capabilities with greater fuel savings

April 06, 2017

In a paper presented at SAE WCX 2017 this week in Detroit, engineers at Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems conclude that 48V battery packs with strong power (up to ~25 kW) and HEV-level energy capabilities (<200Wh for most scenarios) are needed to enable advanced mild hybird (MHEV) capabilities, with optimal power-to-energy ratios between 30 and 160.

Improving battery power to such as level would further enable hybridization to near-HEV levels as well as engine downsizing, thereby enabling fuel economy improvements beyond the current 10-15% MHEV limit. Additionally, new electrified features could be added, such as electric turbo/supercharging, electric traction, electric power steering, electric suspension and electric air conditioning. To address these needs, the A123 team presented a high-power, lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry with excellent rate capabilities.

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Ford favoring bulk-type solid-state battery for next-gen energy storage

April 05, 2017

Ford is exploring a variety of “beyond Li-ion” solutions, including Lithium-sulfur, Lithium-air and solid-state lithium-ion batteries. Of those, Ford is currently favoring a solid-state solution for several reasons, among them the better volumetric energy density this approach offers, said Ford engineer Venkat Anandan in a presentation at SAE WCX 17 in Detroit this week.

A Li-air battery, with its air cathode, is a low-cost system, Anandan said. It also offers a high theoretical specific energy density. Because the technology is similar to that of fuel cells, some of the design and engineering work that has already gone into fuel cells could be adapted for Li-air, he said. However, key drawbacks to the Li-air system are its relatively low practical energy density, low cycle life and the complexity of the system, Anandan said.

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MIT teams receiving $10M from TRI for next-gen battery materials

April 04, 2017

Three MIT-affiliated research teams will receive about $10M in funding as part of a $35M materials science discovery program launched by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). (Earlier post.) Provided over four years, the support to MIT researchers will be primarily directed at scientific discoveries and advancing energy storage.

MIT’s Martin Bazant, joined by colleagues at Stanford University and Purdue University, will lead an effort to develop a novel, data-driven design of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Leveraging a nanoscale visualization technique that revealed, for the first time, how Li-ion particles charge and discharge in real time, in good agreement with his theoretical predictions, Bazant, the E. G. Roos (1944) Professor of Chemical Engineering and a professor of mathematics, will use machine learning to develop a scalable predictive modeling framework for rechargeable batteries.

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Li-ion maker A123 Systems to build HQ complex in Michigan, shrink US cell manufacturing

April 03, 2017

A123 Systems LLC, a developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and systems, plans to spend $40 million to build a new headquarters complex in Novi, Michigan. The 32-acre company-owned site will house all corporate functions, an engineering center, new laboratory space and a manufacturing plant.

The new 150,000 square foot campus will replace A123’s leased space in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan. As part of adapting facilities to align with A123 Systems’ business in the US, the company will consolidate US manufacturing operations into a smaller site on the new campus. This will impact approximately 200 manufacturing jobs at the company’s current locations in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan.

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Toyota Research Institute launches $35M effort to use AI to accelerate design & discovery of advanced materials; focus on batteries and fuel cells

March 30, 2017

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will collaborate with research entities, universities and companies on materials science research, investing approximately $35 million over the next four years in research that uses artificial intelligence to help accelerate the design and discovery of advanced materials. Initially, the program will aim to identify new advanced battery materials and fuel cell catalysts that can power future zero-emissions and carbon-neutral vehicles.

Initial research projects include collaborations with Stanford University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of Michigan; the University at Buffalo; the University of Connecticut; and the UK-based materials science company Ilika. TRI is also in ongoing discussions with additional research partners.

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Vattenfall contracts with BMW for up to 1,000 new 33 kWh Li-ion batteries this year for storage projects in wind farms

March 28, 2017

Vattenfall and the BMW Group have signed a contract for the delivery of up to 1,000 lithium-ion batteries this year. The batteries—each with a capacity of 33 kWh—are equipped with a BMW-owned battery management system and are also used by the car manufacturer in the BMW i3.

Vattenfall will purchase the new batteries from the BMW plant in Dingolfing and use them in all storage projects. The first energy storage from the BMW-i3 batteries is being built at the 122 MW onshore wind farm “Princess Alexia” near Amsterdam. With a capacity of 3.2 megawatts (MW), it is Vattenfall’s first large storage project in the Netherlands.

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Yale team develops dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film for improved cycling of Li-sulfur batteries

March 23, 2017

Researchers at Yale University developed an ultrathin functionalized dendrimer–graphene oxide composite film that can be applied to virtually any sulfur cathode in a Li-sulfur (Li-S) battery system to alleviate capacity fading over battery cycling without compromising the energy or power density of the entire battery.

Sulfur electrodes coated with the composite film exhibit very good cycling stability, together with high sulfur content, large areal capacity, and improved power rate. The film design provides a new strategy for confining lithium polysulfides. A paper on their work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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ICCT: incremental technology can cut vehicle CO2 by half and increase fuel economy >60% through 2030 with ~5% increase in price

March 22, 2017

With the EPA re-opening its Mid-Term Review of GHG standards for 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles (earlier post), and with NHTSA yet to weigh in on its Mid-Term evaluation of fuel economy standards for the same period, a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a report analyzing emerging vehicle efficiency technologies; their ability to achieve lower emission levels; and their costs in the 2025–2030 timeframe.

Starting from a baseline 26 mpg (9.04 l/100 km) in 2016, the The ICCT team assessed increased consumer label fuel economy (as opposed to the regulatory test fuel economy) to 35 mpg (6.71 l/100 km) in 2025 and to 42–46 mpg (5.6-5.11 l/100 km) (under three scenarios) by 2030. These fuel economy levels are achieved based on a sustained 4%–6% annual reduction of fuel use per mile with incremental technology additions that do not compromise vehicle size or utility at an incremental cost of $800–$1,300 from 2025 to 2030. The resulting trajectory would reduce CO2 emissions by half and increase fuel economy by more than 60% from 2016 through 2030. Based on a detailed analysis of the efficiency technologies used to achieve these lower CO2 emission levels, the ICCT study concludes that vehicle prices would increase by about 5% by 2030.

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TU Graz researchers identify singlet oxygen as major cause of deleterious side reactions in Li-air batteries; suggested approach to counter

March 21, 2017

Researchers led by a team from Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria have shown that singlet oxygen (1O2) forms in the cathode of a Li–O2 battery during discharge and from the onset charge, and that it is responsible for a major fraction of side products that cause fast ageing in the battery. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Energy.

The paper also suggests an initial approach as to how the storage cell can protect itself from the reactive oxygen species. Singlet oxygen is the main cause of ageing in biological cells. To counter this, nature uses an enzyme called superoxide dismutase to eliminate superoxide as a free radical. The researchers identified a class of molecules that can provide a function for the Li-O2 battery similar to that of the enzyme superoxide dismutase in biological systems.

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New high conductivity composite solid electrolyte for solid-state Li batteries

Researchers in S. Korea have developed a new composite solid electrolyte that shows very high total conductivity (9.4 × 10-4 S cm-1) at room temperaturefor all-solid-state lithium batteries. The new composite combines Li1+xAlxTi2-x(PO4)3 (LATP) with a NASICON (Na superionic conductor)-like structure with Bi2O3.

LATP is regarded as a promising solid electrolyte due to its high “bulk” conductivity (~10-3 S cm-1) and excellent stability against air and moisture. However, the solid LATP electrolyte still suffers from a low “total” conductivity, mainly due to the blocking effect of grain boundaries to Li+ conduction. The researchers suggest that Bi2O3 acts as a microstructural modifier to effectively reduce the fabrication temperature of the electrolyte while enhancing its ionic conductivity.

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Argonne team develops new fluorinated sulfone electrolytes for high-voltage, high-energy Li-ion batteries

March 20, 2017

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have synthesized a new class of fluorinated sulfone electrolytes to enable high-voltage, high-energy Li-ion batteries. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

The Argonne researchers evaluated the physical and electrochemical properties of the new sulfone-based electrolytes in a high voltage LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/ graphite cell cycled at 4.6 V. The fluorinated sulfones—with an α-trifluoromethyl group—exhibit enhanced oxidation stability, reduced viscosity and superior separator wettability as compared to their non-fluorinated counterparts.

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Year-long field testing finds electric buses with Toshiba wireless charger cut CO2 up to 60% compared to diesel

March 17, 2017

Toshiba Corporation announced the results of year-long field tests of electric buses charged with its wireless rapid rechargeable battery system. (Earlier post.) The tests, carried out with the cooperation of Waseda University, showed that using the buses to replace standard diesel buses could cut CO2 emissions from daily operation by up to 60% for a medium-sized bus and by up to 42% for a small bus. The project was supported by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment’s Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program.

For the field test, Toshiba developed a 44kW wireless rapid rechargeable battery system that feeds power to the battery when the bus is parked over charger pads. The buses were customized to run on Toshiba’s SCiB rechargeable batteries (52.9 kWh pack for the medium-sized bus), and provided regular service between All Nippon Airways facilities in Kawasaki and vicinity of Haneda Airport in Tokyo for the year from February 2016 to January 2017.

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Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery company Aquion files for Chap. 11, targets sale of assets

March 14, 2017

Aquion Energy Inc., the developer and manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries and energy storage systems (earlier post), filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware.

Immediately preceding the Chapter 11 filing, the company retrenched to a core R&D team by terminating approximately 80% of its personnel (several of whom have also entered into consulting agreements with the company to assist it in the sale of its assets), paused all factory operations, and stopped the marketing and selling of its products.

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Silicon Mobility introduces new software library and app for optimizing EV, HEV efficiency, battery range and charging speed

March 13, 2017

France-based Silicon Mobility, a provider of semiconductor control solutions for electric motors, battery and energy management systems of hybrid and electric vehicles, introduced a software library (OLEA LIB) and an application (OLEA APP) optimized for its OLEA chips to increase the energy efficiency, the battery range and the charging speed for hybrid and electric vehicles.

OLEA is Silicon Mobility’s family of standard products for automotive applications. OLEA embeds Silicon Mobility’s technologies: AMEC, hardware flexible interface for real-time data processing and deterministic control of actuators and sensors and SILant, functional safety acceleration unit for detecting, containing, correcting and protecting against system faults.

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Launch of project ECO COM'BAT to develop more sustainable and high-voltage Li-ion batteries

March 08, 2017

Ten European industry and research organizations are partnering in the EU-funded project ECO COM'BAT (“Ecological Composites for High-Efficient Li-Ion Batteries”), coordinated by the Fraunhofer Project Group Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies, part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, to develop next-generation high-voltage Li-ion batteries.

Better performance is not the only goal for the new battery. Compared to conventional batteries, the new type should be more sustainable with regard to the materials used. The main task here is the substitution of conventional, often expensive, rare or even critical materials.

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PSA to acquire Opel/Vauxhall & GM Financial Euro operations for €2.2B; partnering on electrification and maybe fuel cells

March 06, 2017

General Motors and PSA Group announced an agreement under which PSA Group will acquire GM’s Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial’s European operations in a transaction valuing these activities at €1.3 billion (US$1.38 billion) and €0.9 billion (US$0.95 billion, respectively. With the addition of Opel/Vauxhall, which generated revenue of €17.7 billion (US$18.75 billion) in 2016, PSA will become the second-largest automotive company in Europe, with a 17% market share.

GM will also own warrants to purchase shares of PSA. GM and PSA also expect to collaborate in the further deployment of electrification technologies. Existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models will continue, and PSA may potentially source long-term supply of fuel cell systems from the GM/Honda joint venture.

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Kokam introduces new XPAND Li-ion pack for electric vehicle manufacturers; advanced liquid cooling, 150 Wh/kg

Kokam Co., Ltd, has introduced the XPAND battery pack, delivering electric vehicle manufacturers a safe, high-performance, cost-effective battery solution for electric bus, tram, truck, ground support equipment (GSE), military, marine, special-purpose and other commercial and industrial electric vehicle (EV) applications.

The XPAND battery pack will be offered in two versions: the 7.1 kWh XMP71P and the 11.4 kWh XMP114E. Both versions are easily scalable, able to support EV applications from 7.1 kWh up to 1.5 MWh of capacity, in a wide variety of voltages.

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AKASOL Li-ion battery modules achieve 50% extension in service life in endurance testing

March 05, 2017

Over the course of an eight-month endurance test, the Germany-based high-performance battery system provider AKASOL subjected its latest generation of Li-ion battery modules—AKAMODULE 46Ah and 53Ah—to a range of extreme conditions. Among that results was that, due to the module’s liquid-cooled design (developed in-house) and extremely homogeneous conditions for the battery cells, the service life of the batteries can be extended by up to 50% when compared to the manufacturer’s specifications.

The modules, which are usually used at temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius, were still able to operate at extreme temperatures of between 50 and 55 degrees Celsius due to their high level of endurance.

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Dukosi raises £2M for next-generation battery management technology

March 02, 2017

Scotland-based battery management systems company Dukosi has secured a further £2 million (US$2.1 million) in funding, led by IP Group plc. Dukosi has developed a novel battery management system that collects, processes and stores data directly at the cell. Using wireless technology, the system transmits real-time information on cell performance to support master level control of the battery pack.

Following several years of research, development and testing, Dukosi is readying for production of its semiconductor-chip-based solution that collects highly accurate and frequent data at a cell level, to generate real-time state of charge and state of health results. Using Dukosi’s technology reduces battery complexity, removes almost all data wiring, improves measurement accuracy, and provides a history of each cell.

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PNNL team finds electrolyte additive enables fast charging, stable cycling Li-metal batteries

March 01, 2017

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have found that adding a small, optimal amount (0.05M) of LiPF6 (lithium hexafluorophosphate) as an additive in LiTFSI–LiBOB dual-salt/carbonate-solvent-based electrolytes significantly enhances the charging capability and cycling stability of Li metal batteries. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Energy.

In the paper, they report that using the additive in a Li metal battery with a 4-V Li-ion cathode at a moderately high loading of 1.75 mAh cm−2 resulted in 97.1% capacity retention after 500 cycles along with very limited increase in electrode overpotential at a charge/discharge current density up to 1.75 mA cm−2. The researchers attributed the fast charging and stable cycling performances to the generation of a robust and conductive solid electrolyte interphase at the Li metal surface and stabilization of the Al cathode current collector.

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Goodenough and UT team report new strategy for all-solid-state Na or Li battery suitable for EVs; plating cathodes

A team of engineers led by John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed a new strategy for a safe, low-cost, all-solid-state rechargeable sodium or lithium battery cell that has the required energy density and cycle life for a battery that powers an all-electric road vehicle. An open-access paper on the work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

The cells use a solid glass electrolyte having a Li+ or Na+ conductivity >10-2 S cm-1 at 25 ˚C with a motional enthalpy ≈ 0.06 eV, which promises to offer acceptable operation at lower temperatures. Using the new glass, the cathode consists of plating the anode alkali-metal (e.g., (lithium, sodium or potassium) on a copper–carbon cathode current collector at a voltage of more than 3.0 V. Replacing a conventional host insertion compound as a cathode by a redox center for plating an alkali-metal cathode provides a safe, low-cost, all-solid-state cell with a large capacity resulting in high energy density and a long cycle life.

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Maxwell Technologies to acquire Nesscap Energy for $23M; strengthens position in automotive, industrial, wind

Maxwell Technologies and Nesscap Energy Inc., leading developers and manufacturers of capacitive energy storage and power delivery solutions, have entered into an agreement in which Maxwell proposes to acquire substantially all of the assets and business of Nesscap for a total purchase price of $23.175 million, or about 1.1 times annualized revenue based on Nesscap’s 9-month revenue ended 30 September 2016.

As a market leader in innovative small cell format ultracapacitor products and technologies, Nesscap provides research, development and manufacturing of energy storage and power delivery solutions that complement Maxwell’s large cell format ultracapacitor product portfolio, with operations in Korea, Germany, and China.

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EVgo and ABB install first 150 kW fast charger in US, with potential upgrade to 350 kW

February 28, 2017

EVgo, the US’ largest network of public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations, and ABB have deployed the US’ first ABB High-Power fast charging station in Fremont, California. The High-Power fast charging system features a maximum charging rate of 150kW—providing a charge which is three times faster than most fast chargers deliver today.

The charger will assist with next generation electric vehicle charging research, and will allow testing of EV research platforms at 150kW initially. The installed system has the potential to reach charging speeds of up to 350kW with an upgrade. As automakers align on future hardware and service standards, the station will enable industry coordination and testing.

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FDK and Fujitsu Labs develop high-energy-density lithium cobalt pyrophosphate cathode material for solid-state batteries

February 27, 2017

FDK Corporation and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. have jointly developed lithium cobalt pyrophosphate (Li2CoP2O7) as a high-energy-density cathode material for all-solid lithium-ion batteries. The new material can operate at charge/discharge voltages of more than 5V, which is beyond the limits of conventional lithium secondary batteries.

While there is active progress on improving lithium-ion and other existing batteries, development work is advancing on various types of next-generation batteries with the potential to exceed the performance of existing batteries, and all-solid-state batteries are attracting attention as next-generation batteries with superior safety performance. FDK is working on the development of all-solid-state batteries, with such characteristics as high energy density, superior safety performance, and long battery life.

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NSF to award $13M to projects focused on electrochemical and organic photovoltaic systems

February 24, 2017

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) will award more than $13 million to projects in the Energy for Sustainability program. The goal of the Energy for Sustainability program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and fuels, and for energy storage. Processes for sustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources.

The focus of this funding opportunity (PD-17-7644) is on electrochemical energy systems and organic photovoltaics.

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USC team uses mixed conduction membranes to suppress polysulfide shuttle in Li-S batteries

February 17, 2017

One of the major issues hobbling the commercialization of high energy-density lithium-sulfur batteries is the “polysulfide shuttle”—the shuttling of polysulfide ions between the cathode and anode. The polysulfide shuttle is a major technical issue that limits the electrical performance and cycle life of this type of battery. Addressing this polysulfide shuttle—which causes self-discharge, low charging efficiencies, and irreversible capacity losses—has been a major focus of research and development.

Now, in an open-access paper published in the January issue of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Sri Narayan and Derek Moy of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute report a novel approach to the problem. The USC team developed a “mixed conduction membrane” (MCM)—a thin non-porous lithium-ion conducting barrier that simply restricts the soluble polysulfides to the positive electrode.

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Government of Canada awards $18.2M for aluminum autoparts and better Li-ion battery management

The Government of Canada is awarding a total of $18.2 million to two companies that have developed innovations with the potential to make cars lighter, more fuel efficient and, in the case of electric cars, better performing due to a longer battery life.

Astrex Inc. of Lakeshore will receive a repayable contribution of up to $17 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency’s (FedDev Ontario) Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The investment will enable Astrex, a manufacturer of auto parts, to establish a facility that produces lightweight, high-strength aluminum components. The parts manufactured at this plant will reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions.

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Wireless charging J2954 testing to 11 kW in 2017 for LD, HD starting up to 250 kW; autonomous charging and infrastructure proposal for California

February 13, 2017

SAE International is working to ensure that electric vehicle wireless power transfer systems from diverse manufacturers will interoperate seamlessly with each other to prepare for commercialization in 2020. The SAE TIR (Technical Information Report) J2954 provides guidance to ensure performance and safety of Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) Systems provided from one vendor as well as interoperability when parts of the system are provided from different vendors.

SAE International is engaged with the Idaho National Lab and US Department of Energy (DOE) in bench-testing of WPT 3 (11 kW) levels in 2017, said Jesse Schneider, chair of the SAE J2954 task force, in his presentation at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium last week in San Diego. In addition, eight OEMs have light-duty vehicle testing planned to begin in third quarter for WPT 1-3 which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

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POSCO begins lithium production for first time in Korea; domestic supply for Samsung, LG; investing $261M in anode materials by 2020

February 12, 2017

Korea-based steel-maker POSCO has begun commercial production of lithium in Korea for the first time. On 7 February, POSCO held a ceremony for the completion of a PosLX (POSCO Lithium Extraction) plant with an annual capacity of 2,500 tons at its lithium plant at Gwangyang Works.

At the opening ceremony—the attendees of which included Ung-beom Lee, president of LG Chem, and Nam-seong Cho, president of Samsung SDI—Jong-joo Kim, the director of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy noted that Korea currently imports all lithium carbonate for batteries despite being a world-class producer of secondary batteries. “Today’s completion of the plant will empower POSCO to produce lithium carbonate for batteries on its own, relieving secondary battery makers of worries about securing quality raw materials.

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Volvo Cars to introduce 3-cylinder FWD PHEV in 2018, BEVs & 48V mild hybrid in 2019; Modular Electrification Platform

February 09, 2017

Volvo Cars will introduce a front-wheel drive (FWD), 3-cylinder engine variant of its Twin Engine plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system in 2018, followed by its first production battery-electric vehicles and a new 48V mild hybrid system in 2019, according to Mats Anderson, Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems. Anderson was speaking at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego.

Currently in its line-up, Volvo offers the T8 Twin Engine all-wheel drive (AWD) system, currently on the XC 90 T8 Drive-E Twin Engine (earlier post). The 4-cylinder engine T8 AWD is intended to match the performance of 6- and 8-cylinder engined competitors, said Anderson. The new Twin Engine FWD platform will use a 3-cylinder engine, with the system matching the performance of 4- and 6-cylinder engined competitors.

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Bosch establishing new electromobility operating unit in Powertrain Solutions; start at beginning of 2018

February 08, 2017

Bosch is forming an operating unit specifically for electromobility. The unit will be part of the new Powertrain Solutions division. From the start of 2018, Powertrain Solutions will include the company’s electromobility activities as well as the existing Gasoline Systems and Diesel Systems divisions. Thus, in the future, Bosch will supply existing and new customers with all powertrain technologies from a single source.

In addition to the 20 million new hybrids and electric vehicles that Bosch esimates will be produced in 2025, there will be some 85 million new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Thus, as well as expanding electromobility, Bosch will work intensively on further improving combustion-engine technology.

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Researchers suggest approach for boosting Li-S performance; conversion of Li2S to sulfur without polysulfides

February 06, 2017

Lithium-sulfur batteries are one of the most promising alternatives for next-generation high-energy-density batteries; however, one of the main obstacles to widespread commercialization that still needs to be addressed is the polysulfide shuttle mechanism between the two electrodes. The polysulfide shuttle—the migration of lithium polysulfides formed during charge and discharge from cathode to anode—leads to serious self-discharge, poor efficiency and limited cycle life. (E.g., earlier post.)

Now, an international team of researchers in Europe is suggesting a possible approach to convert Li2S into sulfur without the detectible formation of polysulfides. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of Power Sources.

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New ORNL protocol reduces Li-ion battery formation time 6x or more without affecting battery performance

February 03, 2017

A new process developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory could alleviate a bottleneck in battery manufacturing and deliver higher capacity batteries for electric vehicles and consumer devices. (Earlier post.) The ORNL method, published as an open-access paper in the Journal of Power Sources, also conserves lithium, which improves battery capacity. The process is applicable to all lithium-ion batteries and can be tuned for other chemistries as well, said principal investigator David Wood.

The formation process—where batteries undergo repeated cycling to stabilize and activate them for use—typically takes several days or more, and it is necessary for providing a stable solid electrolyte interphase on the anode (at low potentials vs. Li/Li+) for preventing irreversible consumption of electrolyte and lithium ions. An analogous layer known as the cathode electrolyte interphase layer forms at the cathode at high potentials vs. Li/Li+.

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MIT study finds lithium sulfide solid electrolyte more brittle than ideal for batteries

February 02, 2017

Researchers at MIT have probed the mechanical properties of Li2S–P2S5—thought to be a promising amorphous lithium-ion-conducting solid electrolyte—to determine its mechanical performance when incorporated into batteries.

The study, published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, found that the material is more brittle than would be ideal for battery use. However, suggests Frank McGrogan, lead author of the paper, as long as its properties are known and systems designed accordingly, it could still have potential for such uses.

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Berkeley Lab high-resolution imaging reveals new understanding of LMNO cathode particles

Using advanced imaging techniques, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been able to observe what exactly happens inside a cathode particle as lithium-ion batteries are charged and discharged. The team, led led by Berkeley Lab materials chemist Guoying Chen, uncovered important insights into reactions in cathode materials, including the discovery of particle cracking as the cathode is charged, which can reduce battery capacity and life.

The study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Nature Communications, used advanced two-dimensional and three-dimensional nano-tomography on a series of well-formed LixMn1.5Ni0.5O4 (0≤x≤1) crystals to visualize the mesoscale phase distribution, as a function of Li content at the sub-particle level.

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Chinese battery company takes 22% stake in Valmet Automotive; strategic partnership for EVs

January 31, 2017

China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), a leading global provider of battery and energy storage solutions, has taken a 22% stake in Finland-based Valmet Automotive as part of a new strategic partnership in electric automotive solutions. Simultaneously CATL has subscribed to new shares issued by Valmet Automotive for a 22 % ownership in the company. After the new share issue, the owners of Valmet Automotive are Pontos (39%), Tesi (39%) and CATL (22%).

CATL is a private Chinese company developing, manufacturing and providing after-sales services of lithium-ion battery solutions for electric vehicles and energy storage markets. It is among the three leading electric vehicle battery providers globally and the clear market leader in China with a large portfolio of customers. CATL is seeking to expand its business in the fast evolving European electric vehicle market. At the end of 2016, CATL employed more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

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Navigant: 2016 advanced battery shipments through Q3 = 323M cells and $3.8B in sales

January 26, 2017

According to a new report from Navigant Research, the shipment volume of advanced batteries for the first three quarters of 2016 equates to more than 323.5 million individual battery cells, 16.1 GWh of energy capacity, 61.4 GW of power capacity, and $3.8 billion in sales. The majority of the advanced batteries in 2016 have been manufactured in Asia Pacific and shipped around the world.

For the purposes of the report, advanced batteries are defined as rechargeable batteries with a chemistry that has only entered into the market as a mass-produced product in the last two decades for use in the automotive or stationary energy storage system sectors. The report does not include experimental batteries that have not yet reached mass production. The chemistries that are included in the report are all lithium ion (Li-ion) chemistries, flow battery chemistries, sodium-metal halide, and advanced lead-acid.

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AKASOL to provide Li-ion batteries for electric buses to Scandinavian OEM through 2030; up to 4,500 systems

January 23, 2017

Germany-based Li-ion manufacturer AKASOL (earlier post) has signed a contract for the supply of Li-ion batteries to an unnamed international commercial vehicle manufacturer in Scandinavia for its entire electric bus fleet through 2023. In total, the order includes the delivery of up to 4,500 battery systems—revenue on the order of up to some triple-digit million euro figure.

The first series production buses fitted with AKASOL-battery systems are expected in 2018. The buses will feature either hybrid or battery-electric drive and have a capacity between 150 and 300 kWh.

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Northwestern team devises new computational design framework for optimized coatings for Li-ion cathodes to prolong cycle life

Researchers at Northwestern University, with a colleague from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have developed a new computational design framework that can pinpoint optimal materials with which to coat the cathode in lithium-ion batteries. The optimized coatings have the potential to prolong the cycle-life of Li-ion batteries and surpass the performance of common coatings based on conventional materials.

The high-throughput density-functional-theory-based framework, presented in an open access paper in the journal Nature Communications, consists of reaction models that describe thermodynamic and electrochemical stabilities, and acid-scavenging capabilities of materials.

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Georgia Tech team develops simple, low-cost process for oxide nanowires; superior separators for Li-ion batteries

January 20, 2017

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a simple technique for producing oxide nanowires directly from bulk materials under ambient conditions without the use of catalysts or any external stimuli. The process could significantly lower the cost of producing the one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures, enabling a broad range of uses in lightweight structural composites, advanced sensors, electronic devices—and thermally-stable and strong battery membranes able to withstand temperatures of more than 1,000 ˚C.

In a paper in the journal Science, the team reported the transformation of multimicrometer-sized particles of aluminum or magnesium alloys into alkoxide nanowires of tunable dimensions, which were converted into oxide nanowires upon heating in air. Fabricated separators based on aluminum oxide nanowires enhanced the safety and rate capabilities of lithium-ion batteries.

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Researchers call for integration of materials sustainability into battery research; the need for in situ monitoring

January 18, 2017

In a review paper in the journal Nature Materials, Jean-Marie Tarascon (Professor at College de France and Director of RS2E, French Network on Electrochemical Energy Storage) and Clare Gray (Professor at the University of Cambridge), call for integrating the sustainability of battery materials into the R&D efforts to improve rechargeable batteries. The pair argue for the selection of chemistries that have a minimum footprint in nature and that are more readily recycled or integrated into a full circular economy.

Concerns over sustainability as well as cost directs that battery lifetimes must be greatly improved, and second-life applications considered during the development phase. As part of this, Gray and Tarascon suggest, the state of health of batteries must be monitored continuously during operation to minimize their degradation. This requirement, in turn, pushed the boundaries of operando techniques to monitor increasingly complex processes.

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ECS requesting proposals for third ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship for projects in automotive green energy technology

January 05, 2017

ECS (The Electrochemical Society), in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is requesting proposals for the third ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.

The automotive industry currently faces three challenges regarding environmental and energy issues: (1) finding a viable alternative energy source as a replacement for oil; (2) reducing CO2 emissions; and (3) preventing air pollution. Although the demand for oil alternatives—such as natural gas, electricity and hydrogen—may grow, each alternative energy source has its disadvantages. Currently, oil remains the main source of automotive fuel; however, further research and development of alternative energies may bring change.

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New core-shell yolk-shell nanohybrid silicon anode for high-performance Li-ion batteries

January 01, 2017

A team from Zhejiang University of Technology and the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong has developed a core-shell yolk-shell Si@C@void@C nanohybrid for use as a Li-ion battery anode. The new nanohybrid provides better conductivity and corrosion resistance than a yolk-shell Si@void@C nanostructure—which itself improves the low Li+/electron conductivity and buffers the huge volume variation of silicon.

In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, the team reports that the Si@C@void@C electrodes exhibited remarkably enhanced reversible capacity, cycling stability (∼1366 mA h g−1 after 50 cycles at 500 mA g−1, with a capacity retention of ∼71% with respect to the initial reversible capacity of 1910 mAh g−1 at 100 mA g−1), and rate performance (with a capacity retention of ∼60% at 4000 mA g−1).

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Researchers develop robust biopolymer network binder enabling high sulfur loading in Li-S electrodes

December 24, 2016

Researchers from China and Australia have developed a mechanically robust biopolymer network binder that enabled the preparation of high-loading sulfur electrodes to improve the electrochemical performance of Li-sulfur batteries. The binder supported a high-sulfur-loading electrode of 19.8 mg cm-2 with an ultrahigh areal specific capacity of 26.4 mAh cm-2.

The network binder effectively prevented polysulfides within the electrode from shuttling and, consequently, improved electrochemical performance. This study, published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, identifies a new way to obtaining high-energy-density batteries by the simple application of robust network biopolymer binders that are inherently low-cost and environmentally friendly.

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Caltech, CMU researchers measure mechanical properties of Li at small scale; implications for Li metal anode development

December 21, 2016

Likely next-generation battery chemistries such as Li-sulfur or Li-air envision the use of a Li metal anode coupled with an advanced cathode. However, the use of lithium metal anodes in rechargeable batteries has been restricted due to dendrite growth that can cause short-circuits or explosions. Solid-state electrolytes appear to be a promising solution to suppress dendrite growth. However, a lack of knowledge of the mechanical properties of lithium at the very small scale (nano- and micro-) hampers the understanding of the mechanical interactions at the interface of the electrolyte with the Li electrode.

Now, a joint team of researchers from Caltech and Carnegie Mellon University has measured for the first time the strength of lithium metal at the nano- and micro-scale. In a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they report that that Li exhibits a strong size effect at room and elevated temperature. First-principle calculations show a high level of elastic anisotropy (variation of elastic properties with direction of measurement). Based on the results, they suggest rational guidelines for anode/electrolyte selection and operating conditions that will lead to better cycling performance.

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UMD researchers report solution to high interfacial impedance hampering developing of high-performance solid-state Li-ion batteries

December 20, 2016

Garnet-type solid-state electrolytes (SSEs) for Li-ion batteries offer a range of attractive benefits, including high ionic conductivity (approaching 1 mS cm−1 at room temperature); excellent environmental stability with processing flexibility; and a wide electrochemical stability window. However, development of high-performance solid-state Li-ion batteries (SSLiBs) using these materials has been hobbled by the the major challenge of the high solid–solid interfacial impedance between the garnet electrolyte and electrode materials.

Now, team of researchers at the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and A. James Clark School of Engineering report developing a solution to this problem. In a paper in Nature Materials, the researchers report effectively addressing the large interfacial impedance between a lithium metal anode and the garnet electrolyte by using ultrathin aluminium oxide (Al2O3) coating placed by atomic layer deposition.

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Huawei Watt Lab develops graphene-assisted high-temperature Li-ion batteries

Huawei researchers recently unveiled what they said was the first long-lifespan graphene-assisted Li-ion battery able to withstand high temperatures. The announcement was made by Watt Laboratory, an organization under Huawei’s Central Research Institute, at the 57th Battery Symposium held in Japan.

Huawei’s research results show that new graphene-assisted heat-resistant technologies allow Li-ion batteries to remain functional in a 60 ˚C (140 ˚F) environment, a temperature 10 ˚C higher than the existing upper limit. The lifespan of the graphene-assisted Li-ion batteries will also be twice as long as ordinary Li-ion batteries.

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Lucid Motors enters strategic partnership with LG Chem for Li-ion battery cells

December 19, 2016

Lucid Motors has signed a strategic supply agreement with LG Chem for lithium-ion battery cells. The agreement establishes LG Chem as one of the key suppliers of cells for Lucid’s products. The cylindrical cells that LG Chem will be producing for Lucid will feature a proprietary chemistry that has been developed together in partnership.

Lucid enters the agreement after nearly a decade of experience with electric vehicle battery pack research, development and commercial operations. These battery systems have logged over 20 million miles to date, and the data Lucid has collected and analyzed from these operations have been a critical factor in selecting the best strategic suppliers.

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Dynexus licenses Idaho Lab’s IMB technology for forecasting battery health

December 16, 2016

Under an exclusive licensing agreement, Dynexus Technology will commercialize INL’s embedded wideband impedance technology for analyzing and forecasting the health, aging and safety characteristics of advanced energy storage devices. The 2011 R&D 100 Award-winning Impedance Measurement Box (IMB) was invented by INL’s Energy Storage Group in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with support from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

Dynexus, headquartered in Colorado, develops products and services that connect advanced sensor-based enterprise data with decision makers to improve access to embedded intelligence. The wideband impedance technique developed at INL delivers in-depth diagnostic insights not previously available outside the battery research lab, providing tremendous value for safer and more cost-effective commercial implementation of advanced energy storage technologies.

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DOE to award almost $20M to new research and development projects for advanced vehicle technologies

December 15, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001629) for the Vehicle Technologies Office of up to $19.7 million, subject to appropriations, to support research and development of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, lightweight materials, and advanced combustion engines, as well as innovative technologies for energy efficient mobility.

The funding opportunity seeks projects in four areas of interest that apply to light, medium, and heavy-duty on-road vehicles, energy efficient mobility, and transportation infrastructure systems Battery500 Seedling Projects; Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Predictive Tools for Low-Cost Carbon Fiber; Emission Control Strategies for Advanced Combustion Engines; and Energy Efficient Mobility Research and Development.

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UT Austin team devises new strategy for safe, low-cost, all-solid-state rechargeable Na or Li batteries suited for EVs

December 13, 2016

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, including Prof. John Goodenough, known around the world for his pioneering work that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, have devised a new strategy for a safe, low-cost, all-solid-state rechargeable sodium or lithium battery cell that has the required energy density and cycle life for a battery that powers an all-electric road vehicle.

As reported in their paper in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the cells use a solid glass electrolyte having a Li+ or Na+ conductivity σi > 10-2 S cm-1 at 25°C with a motional enthalpy ΔHm ≈ 0.06 eV, which promises to offer acceptable operation at lower temperatures. The glass also has a surface that is wet by metallic lithium or sodium, which allows reversible plating/stripping of an alkali-metal anode without dendrites, and an energy-gap window Eg > 9 eV that makes it stable on contact with both an alkali-metal anode and a high-voltage cathode without the formation of an SEI.

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CMU study suggests difficulties in reaching targeted low price points for Li-ion batteries

December 11, 2016

A new study by a team at Carnegie Mellon University examining the costs for varied cell dimensions, electrode thicknesses, chemistries, and production volumes of cylindrical and prismatic Li-ion batteries finds that although further cost savings are possible from increasing cell dimensions and electrode thicknesses, economies of scale have already been reached, and future cost reductions from increased production volumes are likely to be minimal.

Their findings suggest that prismatic cells, which are able to further capitalize on the cost reduction from larger formats, can offer further reductions than those possible for cylindrical cells. However, none of these changes are sufficient to reach the DOE energy storage target of $125 kWh by 2020, the study found. Even in the most optimistic scenario, when the cells are the largest (20720), electrodes the thickest (100 mm), and the production volume is 8 GWh per year, the cost per kWh for LMO cells is well above the DOE target. NCA cells are $206 kWh-1 and NMC cells are $180 kWh-1. Their paper is published in the Journal of Power Sources.

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Canada invests $1.9M to support Nano One advanced battery production technology

December 08, 2016

The Government of Canada is investing up to $1.9 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in Vancouver-based Nano One to support the development of advanced battery technology for electric vehicles. Nano One produces low-cost high-performance energy storage materials for batteries as well as a wide range of advanced nanostructured composite materials. The new technology will reduce the cost of the energy storage materials in electric vehicle batteries, resulting in batteries that are longer lasting, easier to charge and able to produce more energy.

The funding, made available through the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP), will support the development and production of electric vehicle battery material in Nano One’s pilot plant. The facility will simulate full-scale production of lithium-ion cathode materials and showcase Nano One’s patented processing technology.

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New crosslinked gel electrolytes could create high energy density supercapacitors rivaling batteries

December 07, 2016

Researchers from Augmented Optics Ltd. and the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, have developed new, crosslinked gel-matrix polymer electrolytes exhibiting measured capacitance values more than 100 times those of conventional electrolytes. The new gel electrolytes are compatible with all normal production electrodes.

Augmented Optics, which has formed a subsidiary, SuperCapacitor Materials, to commercialize the materials, believes that the combination of existing electrodes and the new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems.

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Lucid Motors and Samsung SDI in strategic partnership on next-gen lithium-ion cells

Samsung SDI and luxury EV startup Lucid Motors have entered a strategic partnership for battery cell supply. Samsung SDI will be a major supplier of lithium-ion cells for Lucid’s first vehicle, an electric executive sedan scheduled to begin production in late 2018.

Samsung SDI and Lucid have collaborated to develop next-generation cylindrical cells that are able to exceed current performance benchmarks in areas such as energy density, power, calendar life and safety. Significantly, this jointly developed cell also achieves breakthrough tolerance to repeated fast charging.

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Nikola Motor unveils prototype Class 8 fuel cell range-extended electric truck, plans for H2 fueling network

December 06, 2016

At an event at its Salt Lake City headquarters last week, startup Nikola Motor Company (NMC) unveiled the first public prototype of its Nikola One Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell range-extended electric truck, as well as renderings of the Nikola Two Class 8 day cab version. The company also announced its plan for a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations across the US and Canada (Nikola is bundling fuel with the truck), and unveiled a 107 kWh battery pack for the Nikola Zero UTV along with a business plan to sell packs to OEMs.

The Nikola One utilizes a fully electric drivetrain featuring a 320 kWh Li-ion battery pack (32,000 cells) and a nearly 300 kW fuel cell stack powering a 6x4 four-wheel electric drive (four 800V AC motors) with torque vectoring. Delivering more than 1,000 hp (746 kW) and 2,000 lb-ft of torque, the Nikola One will have an expected range of 800-1,200 miles, the company said.

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UT Austin team uses polypyrrole-MnO2 coaxial nanotubes as sulfur host to improve performance of Li−sulfur battery

December 05, 2016

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel electrode for lithium-sulfur batteries that improves cyclic stability and rate capability significantly. In a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, they report using polypyrrole-MnO2 coaxial nanotubes to encapsulate sulfur. MnO2 restrains the shuttle effect of polysulfides greatly through chemisorption and the polypyrrole serves as conductive frameworks.

They report a stable Coulombic efficiency of ∼98.6% and a decay rate of 0.07% per cycle with 500 cycles at 1C-rate with the S/PPy-MnO2 ternary electrodes with 70 wt % sulfur and 5 wt % of MnO2. The ternary electrodes have an initial high rate of 1420 milliampere-hours per gram (mAh/g) at 0.2 C and deliver 985 mAh/g after 200 cycles.

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Nissan and Eaton broaden xStorage Home energy storage portfolio; 10-year xStorage Buildings deal with Amsterdam ArenA

November 30, 2016

Nissan and power management leader Eaton are broadening their portfolio of xStorage Home residential energy storage solutions—which can use second-life EV batteries—by introducing a range of six product configurations, giving consumers greater choice to meet their energy needs. This announcement comes as pre-orders of xStorage Home begin today in the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany with other European markets to follow in the coming months.

Nissan and Eaton also announced a 10-year deal with Amsterdam ArenA—home of Ajax Football Club and world-famous entertainment venue—to provide back-up power to the arena from second-life Nissan LEAF batteries. The 55,000-seat stadium has hosted numerous high profile concerts and sporting events over the years.

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Stanford team uses battery electrode materials to boost platinum catalytic performance for fuel cells

November 25, 2016

A team at Stanford University has developed a method for using battery electrode materials directly and continuously to control the lattice strain of a platinum (Pt) catalyst, thereby boosting catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells by up to nearly 90%. A paper on their work is published in Science.

Modifying the electronic structure of catalysts can improve their performance; lattice strain (either compressive or tensile) modifies the distances between surface atoms and hence modifies catalytic activity. However, the common approach of using metal overlayers to induce strain has some control issues, such as introducing ligand effects.

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Saint Jean Carbon building a high performance lithium-ion battery with recycled/upcycled material

Saint Jean Carbon Inc., a carbon science company engaged in the design and build of energy storage carbon materials, and a battery manufacturing partner will build a high-powered full-scale lithium-ion battery with recycled/upcycled material from an electric car power pack and upcycled anode material from Saint Jean Carbon.

Saint John said that this project—a first—is intended to provide results showing that the battery materials can be re-used over and over again, greatly reducing the demand for continued mining and helping the environment significantly. The project will take a three-stage approach:

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Toyota develops method to observe behavior of Li ions in electrolyte; expected contributions to battery performance & durability

November 24, 2016

Toyota Motor’s Central R&D Labs, along with Nippon Soken and four universities (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kyoto, and Ritsumeikan) has developed the first method for observing the real-time behavior of lithium ions (Li-ions) in an electrolyte as a Li-ion battery charges and discharges. The researchers will present a paper on this method, results and the implications for battery design at the 57th Battery Symposium in Japan next week.

Toyota believes that this method—which combines high-intensity X-ray (synchrotron radiation) for high speed measurement at high resolution with a special, easy-to-observe electrolyte—will provide essential guidelines for R&D that aims to improve the performance and durability of batteries, which would lead to longer battery life, as well as longer driving ranges for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and electric vehicles (EVs).

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DOE awards $1.1M to Penn State project to develop protective, self-healing layers for Li metal anodes

November 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office has awarded Donghai Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, a $1.1-million grant to develop a new lithium-ion conductor for the protection of lithium metal used in next-generation battery technologies for electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)

With the new funding, Wang, who leads the Energy Nanostructure Laboratory at Penn State, and his team will use very thin layers of nanostructured hybrid (organic-inorganic—i.e., organo-LixSy and organo-LixPySz) materials to suppress the formation of dendrites on lithium metal anodes. The overall goal is to develop protective, self-healing layers for Li-metal anodes that will allow high cycling efficiency (> 99.7%) and dendrite-free cycling.

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Some Volkswagen strategists see battery-electric, diesel cost lines crossing by 2023-2025; TRANSFORM 2025+

November 22, 2016

The increasing stringency of global emissions standards, both current and projected, is driving up the cost for internal combustion engines to meet those standards, although numerous technology pathways exist. (Earlier post.)

In a conversation with Green Car Congress at AutoMobility LA last week, Dr. Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, said that, as a result of those pressures, some strategists in the Volkswagen Group project that the cost lines between battery-electric vehicles and diesel will cross within the coming decade.

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Volkswagen & BASF “Science Award Electrochemistry” to Dr. William Chueh from Stanford; special prize to Dr. Martin Ebner from ETH University Zurich

The Volkswagen and BASF international “Science Award Electrochemistry 2016” goes to Dr. William Chueh from Stanford University. The jury of representatives from BASF, Volkswagen and from academia selected him for his outstanding research results in the area of energy storage and conversion.

Dr. William C. Chueh is assistant professor at the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and Center Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy. He has attained a new level of understanding for diverse fundamental battery dynamics which limit battery rate capability and life cycle. His insights are paving the way for further improving lithium-ion batteries and significantly enhancing their performance. (Earlier post.)

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Leclanché and Narada Power sign strategic global alliance for Li-ion technology

November 21, 2016

Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché SA (earlier post) and China-based Zhejiang Narada Power Source Co Ltd, a global battery manufacturer, announced a strategic partnership for the manufacturing and development of lithium-ion battery technology for the Chinese and global markets.

Leclanché will support Narada with technology transfer to achieve low-cost, scale manufacturing of Leclanché’s proprietary high-cycling and fast-charging lithium titanate (LTO) and high energy density graphite nickel manganese cobalt (G-NMC) battery storage technologies.

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CMU team details impact of regional and drive-cycle variations on degradation of a PHEV battery pack

November 20, 2016

A team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek has investigated the implications of regional and drive cycle variations on the degradation of a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) battery. Modeling a PHEV with an air-cooled battery pack comprising cylindrical LiFePO4/graphite cells, they simulated the effect of thermal management, driving conditions, regional climate, and vehicle system design on battery life.

In their paper, published in the Journal of Power Sources, they reported that in the absence of thermal management, aggressive driving can cut battery life by two-thirds; a blended gas/electric-operation control strategy can quadruple battery life relative to an all-electric control strategy; larger battery packs can extend life by an order of magnitude relative to small packs used for all-electric operation; and batteries last 73–94% longer in mild-weather San Francisco than in hot Phoenix.

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Volkswagen investing €3.5B in German plants for e-mobility and digitalization; MEB production, pilot plant for batteries and modules

November 18, 2016

Volkswagen will invest €3.5-billion (US$3.7-billion) investment in the future-oriented areas of e-mobility and digitalization for its German plants. As part of an agreement with its General Works Council (i.e., labor), the Board of Management announced that the Volkswagen brand’s German plants will develop and produce electric vehicles and components based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). (Earlier post.)

The MEB is the foundation for an entirely new generation of long-range battery-electric vehicles that will be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning. The first production MEB vehicle, a version of the I.D. concept shown this year at the Paris show (earlier post), will—with a range of up to 373 miles and a market introduction in 2020—be priced approximately at the level of a diesel Golf, before any subsidies.

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DOE to issue $47M FY17 Vehicle Technologies program-wide funding opportunity

November 17, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will soon issue its FY17 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001701). The FOA will have estimated funding of $47,150,000; DOE expects to post the full announcement (DE-FOA-0001629) in December.

DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office supports a broad technology portfolio of advanced highway transportation technologies. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies. The upcoming FOA may include the following areas of interest (AOI):

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Brown team creates patterned metal-oxide films using GO template; 4x charge-carrying capacity in Mn2O3

November 10, 2016

Researchers from Brown University have developed a new method for making ultrathin metal-oxide sheets containing intricate wrinkle and crumple patterns by transferring those patters from graphene oxide templates. In a study published in the journal ACS Nano, the researchers show that the resulting textured metal-oxide films have better performance when used as photocatalysts and as battery electrodes.

The new findings build on previous work done by the same research group in which they developed a method for introducing finely tuned wrinkle and crumple textures into sheets of the nanomaterial graphene oxide (GO). The study showed that the process enhanced some of graphene’s properties. The textures made the graphene better able to repel water, which would be useful in making water-resistant coatings, and enhanced graphene’s ability to conduct electricity.

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DOE FY17 SBIR Phase I Release 2 topics include fuel cells, EV batteries, engines

November 08, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the 2017 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 topics, including three subtopics focused on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The fuel cell subtopics include innovative materials for bipolar plates; liquid organic hydrogen carriers; and emergency hydrogen refuelers.

The Phase I Release 2 topics also include four vehicle subtopics, including electric drive vehicle batteries; SiC device qualification for electric drive vehicle power electronics; fuel efficiency improvement technologies for conventional stoichiometric gasoline direct injection multi-cylinder internal combustion engines; and wide-range high-boost turbocharging system. Further, a technology transfer opportunity is the use of a new Argonne catalyst for reducing NOx.

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Nikkei: Toyota to begin mass-producing 300+ km BEV by 2020

November 07, 2016

Without citing sources, the Nikkei reported that Toyota Motor intends to start mass-producing battery-electric vehicles capable of a range of more than 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge by 2020. According to the report, the platform underlying the Prius or Corolla is being considered for an electric SUV.

Up to now, Toyota has envisioned using all battery-electric powertrains mainly in short-distance, urban applications; longer-range electric operation was to be handled by fuel cell vehicles. With GM readying the release of the 383 km (238-mile) Chevy Bolt for this year, Tesla plowing ahead for a release of the Model 3 next year, and other rivals such as Volkswagen accelerating their long-range EV efforts, however, Toyota apparently is broadening its strategy.

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Cummins working on two medium- and heavy-duty PHEV projects; Class 6 truck, Class 7 and 8 buses

November 03, 2016

At the SAE 2016 Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Symposium this week in Knoxville, Gary Parker, Director of Electromobility programs for Cummins, Inc. outlined two of the plug-in hybrid projects in which the engine manufacturer is currently involved.

The first project, in partnership with the Ohio State University, PACCAR, NREL and Argonne National Laboratory and funded with $4.5 million from the DOE, is to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% over conventional Class 6 vehicles. (Earlier post.)

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Nissan introduces series-hybrid powertrain with Note e-POWER in Japan; small pack, small engine, LEAF motor, low price

November 02, 2016

In Japan, Nissan Motor introduced its new series-hybrid drive system called e-POWER along with its application in the Note. This marks the first availability of e-POWER technology for consumers, marking a milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology in the Nissan LEAF. Unlike the all-battery-electric powertrain of the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output. Nissan says that although e-POWER uses a much smaller battery than the LEAF (1.5 kWh vs 30 kWh), it delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

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Maxwell Technologies delivers first commercial application of Li-ion capacitor technology with CRRC-SRI in China

November 01, 2016

Maxwell Technologies, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, announced the first commercial application of lithium-ion capacitors, developed in conjunction with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC-SRI), China’s largest rail manufacturer. (Earlier post.)

The technology will be used for rapid energy regeneration in the trolley system in the capital city of Hunan province in China. Following last year’s announcement of Maxwell’s strategic partnership with CRRC-SRI to collaborate on developing next-generation capacitive energy storage solutions, this project is the first to leverage Maxwell’s new lithium-ion technology and validates its unique value proposition for rail applications.

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Aqua Metals produces first AquaRefined lead at first AquaRefinery; tests 99.99% pure

Aqua Metals has produced the first AquaRefined lead at its AquaRefinery in McCarran, Nevada. AquaRefining is a water-based, room-temperature process that is the only clean lead recycling method for lead-acid batteries (LAB). (Earlier post.)

Through its own on-site assay, Aqua Metals has verified that the lead produced in the AquaRefining module is more than 99.99% pure. The company will send its initial production samples to several US battery manufacturing companies—which collectively represent more than 50% of US battery production—to allow them to conduct their own assays.

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New interfacial architecture enables high-energy solid-state Li battery with long cycle life

October 27, 2016

Researchers led by a team from Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering in China has developed ultrastable all-solid-state lithium batteries (421 mAh g−1 at 1.27 mA cm−2 after 1000 cycles) with high energy and power densities of 360 Wh kg−1 and 3823 W kg−1 at current densities of 0.13 and 12.73 mA cm−2, respectively. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

To achieve their results, the researchers developed a new interfacial architecture. The researchers say that their design approach can be used as a generic route for synthesizing other sulfur-based or transitional metal sulfides−sulfide electrolyte composites for all-solid-state lithium batteries.

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Columbia team develops new prelithiation method to increase Li-ion battery energy density by 10-30%

October 24, 2016

A team at Columbia University, with colleagues from Institute Recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ), has developed a new pre-lithiation method to increase the energy density of lithium (Li-ion) batteries by utilizing a trilayer structure that is stable even in ambient air. This makes the battery both longer lasting and cheaper to manufacture. The work, which may improve the energy density of lithium batteries by 10-30%, is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

Li-ion batteries are produced in a discharged state; however, a considerable amount of active Li+ ions are lost during the initial charge due to the formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) on the anode surface. This results in a low initial coulombic efficiency and lowers the energy density of full cells. This step is even more critical in nanostructured anodes with high specific capacity, such as Si and Sn, due to their high surface area and large volume change.

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Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE begins construction of second Li-ion factory; batteries for 1st EQ model, 48V systems

Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE has begun construction of a second Li-ion battery factory at its site in Kamenz. With an investment of about €500 million (US$545 million), the site in Kamenz will be one of the biggest and most modern battery factories in Europe.

The new production facility is planned to start operations in the middle of 2018. The area of about 20 hectares is located in immediate proximity of the existing battery factory in Kamenz, about 50 kilometers from Dresden. With the construction of the second facility, the production and logistics area will be quadrupled to about 80,000 square meters. The workforce will double by the end of this decade.

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U-M team uses new technique to provide in-depth understanding of dendrite growth on Li metal anodes

October 19, 2016

A team at the University of Michigan (U-M) has used operando video microscopy to develop a comprehensive understanding of the voltage variations observed during Li metal cycling, which is directly correlated to dendrite growth. Specifically, they observed the evolution of the morphology of the Li electrode through operando high-resolution video capture, and directly correlated the morphology to time synchronized voltage traces.

They then developed a model to relate electrode morphology and competing electrochemical kinetics to cell voltage. This allowed for an in-depth understanding of the electrochemical processes occurring. This work, published in an open-access paper in ACS Central Science, provides a level of detailed understanding that can help researchers take the next steps toward bringing Li metal anodes to commercial reality.

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Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical to form 50-50 Li-ion battery electrolyte JV in China

October 18, 2016

Ube Industries, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation have agreed to a tie-up for their electrolyte businesses in China under a 50-50 joint venture to supply highly competitive electrolyte to the market. The JV will enable the two companies to combine their production technologies and mutually to use their technology resources including intellectual property, in order to enhance their technologies and cost competitiveness.

Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical will apply for approval from government authorities in China and other relevant countries. Upon securing the necessary approvals, the two companies will shift their electrolyte businesses in China to a joint operation in April 2017.

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24M delivers initial quantity of production-size semi-solid Lithium-ion cells to NEC Energy Solutions

October 12, 2016

On schedule, 24M has successfully delivered an initial quantity of production-size battery cells to NEC Energy Solutions, Inc. (NEC ES), meeting the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the two companies signed last year at this time. (Earlier post.)

24M is leveraging existing, preferred energy storage chemistry but using a new cell design with semi-solid (a mixture of solid and liquid phases) thick electrodes and manufacturing innovations to deliver what it says will be up to a 50% reduction in current Li-ion costs.

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Maxwell Technologies unveils 51-Volt ultracapacitor module for hybrid buses

Maxwell Technologies, a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, has introduced a 51-volt (51V) module, the newest addition to its ultracapacitor product offerings for rugged applications. The 51V module uses Maxwell’s leading 2.85V, 3,400-farad (F) ultracapacitor cell to deliver the company’s highest available energy and power density.

As durable and efficient energy storage solutions are in strong market demand, Maxwell’s 51V module provides a self-cooling system solution that helps to optimize the performance of hybrid buses and other high-duty cycle applications.

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MIT team develops first supercapacitor made entirely from neat MOFs, without conductive additives or binders

October 11, 2016

Researchers at MIT have shown that a MOF (metal-organic framework) with high electrical conductivity—Ni3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)2 (Ni3(HITP)2)—can serve as the sole electrode material in a supercapacitor. This is the first example of a supercapacitor made entirely from neat MOFs as active materials, without conductive additives or other binders.

The MOF-based device shows an areal capacitance that exceeds those of most carbon-based materials and capacity retention greater than 90% over 10,000 cycles, in line with commercial devices. Given the established structural and compositional tunability of MOFs, these results herald the advent of a new generation of supercapacitors whose active electrode materials can be tuned rationally, at the molecular level, the researchers suggested. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Materials.

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Report: Honda and Saitec develop practical Mg-ion battery with vanadium oxide cathode; commercialization by 2018

October 10, 2016

The Nikkei, citing unnamed sources, reports that R&D organization Saitec (Saitama Industrial Technology Center) and Honda Motor have developed a practical magnesium-ion rechargeable battery and hope to commercialize it. Saitec reportedly led the development; Honda R&D assessed the technology’s viability. The two are slated to announce the battery next month.

Because magnesium is divalent, it can displace double the charge per ion (i.e., Mg2+ rather than Li+). As an element, magnesium is much more abundant than lithium, and more stable. Magnesium-ion batteries theoretically could offer good electrochemical performance, while being safer and less expensive than Li-ion batteries. Toyota has been looking into Mg-ion systems for a number of years (earlier post). However, Mg-ion batteries have suffered from a number of limitations, resulting in rapid degradation of performance.

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Sulfur-loaded carbon aerogel as cathode for Li-S battery offers improved cyclic stability

Researchers at South China Normal University in Guangzhou have developed a novel composite of sulfur loaded in micropore-rich carbon aerogel (CA-S) for use as a cathode in Li-sulfur batteries.

Compared to sulfur loaded in a common carbon material, acetylene black (AB-S), the CA-S exhibited significantly improved cyclic stability and rate capability. The CA is micropore-rich with micropore volume over 66% of total pore volume. In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, and team attributed the improved performance of CA-S to the confinement of the micropores in CA to small sulfur allotropes and corresponding lithium sulfides.

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Volkswagen’s MEB for EVs: long electric range, open-platform, open-space, pricing for the volume market; “tablet on wheels”

October 05, 2016

Brands within the Volkswagen Group have been rolling out modular component matrices, or assembly toolkits, for their light-duty vehicles over the past few years. Until recently, the four main modular toolkits (modularen Baukästen) of the Group were: the MQB (transverse, driven by the Volkswagen brand); the MLB (longitudinal, driven by the Audi brand); the MSB (standard drive, driven by Porsche); and the NSF (New Small Family).

Development work on these continues; Audi, for example, is refining MLB evo—the second-generation of MLB and the foundation for the battery-electric e-tron quattro SUV due out in 2018. (Earlier post.) These four main kits are now joined by the all-new Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten (“Modular Electric Drive kit”, or MEB), being developed by the Volkswagen brand. The MEB will be the foundation for an entirely new generation of battery-electric vehicles designed not only to be electric and feature extended range, but to be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning.

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