[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.]
Univ. of Maryland team develops tin-film on wood fiber anode for Na-ion batteries; targeting grid storage
June 19, 2013
A team at the University of Maryland has demonstrated that a material consisting of a thin tin (Sn) film deposited on a hierarchical conductive wood fiber substrate is an effective anode for a sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery, and addresses some of the limitations of other Na-ion anodes such as capacity fade due to pulverization.
The soft nature of wood fibers effectively releases the mechanical stresses associated with the sodiation process, and the mesoporous structure functions as an electrolyte reservoir that allows for ion transport through the outer and inner surface of the fiber. In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the team reported stable cycling performance of 400 cycles with an initial capacity of 339 mAh/g—a significant improvement over other reported Sn nanostructures. The soft and mesoporous wood fiber substrate can be utilized as a new platform for low cost Na-ion batteries, the team suggests.
Bosch sees future requiring multiple powertrain technologies; the larger the vehicle, the more the electrification
June 18, 2013
|Powertrain technologies outlook up to 2020. Click to enlarge.|
At the company’s 61st Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, Germany, Bosch senior executives outlined the company’s view on the general future of automotive technology—“efficient and increasingly electrical”, and provided a thumbnail of the way they see—and thus are developing products for—sector-specific technology trends.
In general, said Dr. Bernd Bohr, Chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group, the pace of development continues to pick up, in the form of powertrain electrification and the automation of driving. Bosch does not believe there is just one powertrain solution for the future; most of the cars on the world’s roads are still running on diesel and gasoline, and things will stay that way for the rest of the decade, Bohr noted. However, “slowly but surely”, the number of alternatives is growing.
EADS demonstrating electric and hybrid aviation propulsion; innovative distributed propulsion series hybrid
June 17, 2013
|E-Thrust is a “series hybrid” electrical distributed propulsion system concept using one gas power unit providing the electrical power for six fans for lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions and less noise. Click to enlarge.|
The EADS Group—comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter—is demonstrating at the Paris Air Show 2013 a number of initiatives in the field of electric and hybrid propulsion, which it calls its “E-aircraft projects”.
The Group has developed and built a battery-electric general aviation training aircraft in cooperation with Aero Composites Saintonge (ACS), called E-Fan. EADS has also engineered together with Diamond Aircraft and Siemens an updated series hybrid electric motor glider, the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2. EADS is also cooperating with Rolls-Royce on a future distributed propulsion system concept (DEAP) for full-size passenger aircraft.
Rice team combines graphene nanoribbons with tin oxide for improved Li-ion battery anodes
June 14, 2013
|Comparison of capacity retention and Coulombic efficiency of GNRs and the GNRs/SnO2 composite at a rate of 100 mA/g. Credit: ACS, Lin et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers in the James M Tour Group at Rice University have synthesized a composite made from graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) and tin oxide (SnO2) nanoparticles (NPs) for use as improved anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). A paper on their work is being published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The conductive GNRs boost the lithium storage performance of SnO2 NPs. The composite exhibits reversible capacities of more than 1,520 mAh/g and 1,130 mAh/g for the first discharge and charge, respectively—more than the theoretical capacity of SnO2. The reversible capacity retains ~ 825 mAh/g at a current density of 100 mA/g with a Coulombic efficiency of 98% after 50 cycles. Further, the composite shows good power performance with a reversible capacity of ~580 mAh/g at the current density of 2 A/g— much higher than the theoretic capacity of graphite (372 mAh/g).
Sandia researchers confirm mechanism by which Li ions move in and out of LFP electrodes
June 13, 2013
|State-of-charge mapping of lithium iron phosphate electrode powder dispersed by sonication. Credit: ACS, Chueh et al. Click to enlarge.|
Using X-ray and electron microscopy, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4, or LFP). The findings could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment and aircraft. The research is reported in a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
LFP, a natural mineral of the olivine family, is one of the newer materials being used in lithium-ion batteries and is known to be safer and longer-lasting than the lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) compound used in smart phones, laptops and other consumer electronics. Cathode materials such as LFP are important in the search for higher-capacity, long-life, lithium-ion batteries for applications where batteries can’t be replaced as easily or as often as they are in consumer electronics.
Ningbo researchers propose mixed-ion Li/Na batteries
June 12, 2013
Researchers from the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, are proposing a novel concept of Li+/Na+ mixed-ion electrolytes for rechargeable batteries for large-scale energy storage. A paper on their work is published in Scientific Reports, the Nature Publishing Group’s open access journal.
Sodium-ion based rechargeable batteries (SIBs, e.g., earlier post) are of interest due to sodium’s abundance, far lower prices, and a greener synthesis while maintaining a similarity in ion-insertion chemistry. However, a number of issues remain before SIBs could become commercially competitive with Li-ion batteries (LIBs). Among these, the Ningbo team notes, is that only a couple of materials have been reported for the deintercalation/intercalation of sodium ions in aqueous media.
ALABC lead-acid UltraBattery Civic hybrid surpasses 100,000 miles of fleet duty
June 06, 2013
In a project co-funded by the US Department of Energy and managed by Ecotality North America, the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) has demonstrated the durability of lead-carbon batteries in the high-rate, partial state-of-charge operation of a hybrid electric vehicle. A Honda Civic hybrid retrofitted with lead-carbon UltraBattery modules (earlier post) (provided by East Penn Manufacturing) has recorded more than 100,000 miles (161,000 km) of courier duty in the local area of Phoenix, AZ.
The HEV demonstrator, which was first retrofitted and put into fleet duty by Ecotality in November 2011, achieved the benchmark—and continues to run smoothly—in the varying temperatures and elevations of the Phoenix area in just under two-years of operation with no significant loss in battery capacity. The hybrid has also achieved comparable MPG performance with that of the same model powered by Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries but at a significantly lower cost, ALABC said.
New all-solid Li-S battery from ORNL shows approximately 4x energy density of current Li-ion batteries
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies. The ORNL battery design also addresses flammability concerns experienced by other chemistries.
Despite the theoretical promise of high energy density in rechargeable Li-sulfur batteries, commercialization has been retarded by the reduced cycle life enabled by the liquid electrolytes. While the liquid helped conduct ions through the battery by allowing lithium polysulfide compounds to dissolve, the same dissolution process caused the battery to break down prematurely. (e.g., Earlier post.)
New LANL non-precious metal ORR catalyst can out-perform platinum; possible enabler for economical Li-air batteries, fuel cells
June 05, 2013
|ORR polarization plots after 5,000 cycles in O2-saturated electrolyte comparing the new catalyst and a platinum catalyst. Chung et al.Click to enlarge.|
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have designed a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst that shows the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. When used at a sufficiently high loading, this stable catalyst also outperforms the most active platinum-based catalysts, the team found.
The new catalyst, reported in an open source paper in Nature Communications, could pave the way for reliable, economical metal-air batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid and electric vehicles.
ZSW develops process for Li-ion batteries with extended cycle life; 10,000 charge cycles
June 04, 2013
Scientists at the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) (Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg) have developed Li-ion batteries that have already demonstrated a very high cycle life of more than 10,000 full cycles with retention of more than 85% of original capacity. The cells have a power density of 1,100 W/kg.
The active materials for the batteries exclusively originate from German companies. ZSW designed the cells, developed the manufacturing process and produced a small sample series in the 18650 format. The technology has also created the basis for manufacturing large-size pouch and prismatic cells. The Lithium-ion batteries are intended for use in electric vehicles and as solar power storage systems.
New silicon-hydrogel composite Li-ion anode material shows long cycle life, easy manufacturability
|Schematic illustration of 3D porous SiNP/conductive polymer hydrogel composite electrodes. Each SiNP is encapsulated in a conductive polymer surface. Wu et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at Stanford University has developed stable silicon Li-ion battery anodes by incorporating a conducting polymer hydrogel into the Si-based material. The hydrogel is polymerized in situ, resulting in a well-connected 3D network structure of Si nanoparticles (SiNP) coated by the conducting polymer.
In a paper in the journal Nature Communications, the team, led by Professors Zhenan Bao and Yi Cui, reported demonstrating a cycle life of 5,000 cycles with more than 90% capacity retention at current density of 6.0 A g−1 using this anode. The capacity of a SiNP-hydrogel composite electrode varies from 2,500 mAh g-1 to 1,100 mAh g-1 at charge/discharge rate from 0.3 to 3.0 A g-1.
USABC awards Leyden Energy $2.28M contract for Li-imide based 12V start-stop batteries
June 03, 2013
The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) awarded a $2.28-million stop-start battery system development contract to Leyden Energy Inc., which is developing next-generation battery chemistries building off of its lithium-imide electrolyte platform. (Earlier post.) The award is co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes a 50% cost-share by Leyden Energy.
The focus of the 16-month program is to develop an advanced lithium-ion 12-volt start-stop battery system to meet or exceed the performance, life and cost targets set by USABC. Specifically, Leyden Energy will design and develop 12-volt start-stop cells using Leyden’s Li-imide chemistry. USABC had issued an amended request for proposal information (RFPI) for 12-volt start-stop advanced battery development in November 2012.
Siemens installing Sitras supercap-based stationary energy storage unit for TriMet light right substation
|Sitras SES. Click to enlarge.|
Siemens is currently installing the first Sitras SES (stationary energy storage) Energy Storage Unit with supercapacitor technology in the US on the new TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Line. The southeast Portland Tacoma substation location will house the first US storage unit that allows for energy created during braking to be stored and then re-used in one of two applications: energy savings or voltage stabilization during peak demand times. TriMet will utilize the system in voltage stabilization mode.
In voltage stabilization mode, the Sitras SES allows the system to avoid problems that have led to disruptions in mass transit operations. If a number of vehicles accelerate simultaneously, system voltage can drop below a critical level and result in instances of undervoltage tripping in vehicles and, consequently, lead to disruptions in passenger service. The Sitras SES ensures the system voltage always remains within the required range and voltage-related disruptions no longer occur.
Oxis Energy polymer Li-S pouch cell surpasses 450 cycles
May 31, 2013
|Oxis’ standard polymer Li-S pouch cell has surpassed 450 cycles. Click to enlarge.|
Oxis Energy, a UK-based developer of lithium-sulfur batteries, reported via Twitter that one of its standard polymer Li-S pouch cells surpassed 450 cycles this week. Oxis has developed a patented polymer lithium sulfur (Li-S) based battery technology platform using a lithium metal anode, a sulfur-based cathode, and a lithium sulfide electrolyte rendering the Li metal anode safe.
Battery systems using metallic Lithium offer very high specific energy; sulfur represents a natural cathode partner for metallic Li. A lithium-sulfur couple has theoretical specific energy in excess of 2,700Wh/kg. Oxis demonstrated 300 Wh/kg in 2010; the company has a target of 600 Wh/kg in 2016. (Sion Power, supported by an ARPA-E grant, also has a 600 Wh/kg in 2016 target for its Li-S batteries. Earlier post.)
Tesla expanding Supercharger network; boosting charging to 120 kW
May 30, 2013
|Tesla’s vision of the Supercharger network in 2015. Click to enlarge.|
Tesla Motors announced an accelerated rollout of its Tesla Supercharger network, which delivers quick charging for Tesla Model S drivers over long distances (i.e., city-to-city travel), for free.
The company also said that it is currently in beta test with new technology for the Supercharger that will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, replenishing enough energy for three hours of driving in just over 20 minutes. This essentially cuts the current charging time in half relative to early trials of the system. The new technology will be fully rolled out to customers this summer.
EV battery swap company Better Place files for liquidation
May 26, 2013
Better Place, a high-profile developer and proponent of a battery switch model for electric vehicles (earlier post), filed a motion with the Lod District Court in Israel to ask for the dissolution of the company and the appointment of a temporary liquidator.
In its motion the company stated that in light of its failure to raise additional funds and in the absence of sufficient resources for the continued operation of the business, the company is asking for the court’s assistance in protecting the rights of its employees, customers and creditors.
Study shows role of operating temperature on performance of Li-air batteries
May 24, 2013
|Cycling behavior of TEGDME-based electrolyte lithium−oxygen cells; capacity limited to 1000 mAh g−1carbon. Credit: ACS, Park et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team including researchers from Hanyang University (South Korea) and University of Rome Sapienza (Italy) have shown that operating temperature plays an important role in the performance of Lithium-air batteries. They also demonstrated “to the best of our knowledge for the first time” that a lithium-air battery, fabricated with optimized electrodes and electrolyte, may successfully operate in a temperature range extending from −10 to 70 °C.
The electrochemical and morphological study of the response of Li-air cells cycled at various temperatures is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
New graphene-wrapped sulfur-carbon nanofiber cathode for Li-S batteries shows increased capacity and long-cycle stability
May 23, 2013
Researchers at Duke University have developed a novel graphene–sulfur–carbon nanofibers (G-S-CNFs) multilayer and coaxial nanocomposite for use as the cathode of Li–sulfur batteries with increased capacity and significantly improved long-cycle stability.
Electrodes made with the G-S-CNFs were able to deliver a reversible capacity of 694 mA h g–1 at 0.1C and 313 mA h g–1 at 2C—both substantially higher than electrodes assembled without graphene wrapping. More importantly, the long-cycle stability was significantly improved by graphene wrapping, they noted in their paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
Roland Berger E-Mobility Index finds government subsidies for and projected sales of xEVs declining worldwide
May 22, 2013
|The Q1 2013 index (top) shows that the 7 top automotive nations have seen their competitive positions shift since 2012 (bottom). Source: Roland Berger. Click to enlarge.|
Despite maturing technology and better cost structures, worldwide production forecasts for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are in decline, posing a threat to national targets to raise the share of xEVs in vehicle fleets, according to the latest E-mobility Index by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for Q1 2013.
The index compares the development of e-mobility in seven leading car-manufacturing nations (Germany, France, Italy, US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three parameters: technology, manufacturing, and market.
CALSTART to evaluate Navitas Systems’ military-grade Li-ion 6T batteries in Class 8 highway trucks
Navitas Systems LLC, which earlier this year acquired substantially all of the assets of bankrupt A123 Systems’ former Ann Arbor, Michigan-based government business, including US military contracts, has signed a contract to supply prototypes of its upcoming 6T lithium-ion battery (earlier post) for use by CALSTART in assessing the efficacy of this advanced battery in hot and cold weather testing on Class 8 highway trucks.
The 6T battery is commonly used in military vehicles, and to-date has been based on lead-acid chemistry. The Navitas 6T prototype batteries embody the same physical form factor, but utilize advanced lithium iron phosphate chemistry, offering greater cycle and calendar life, discharge runtime, charge acceptance rate and amp-hour throughput over life, all at half the weight of lead acid.
Amprius launches new high-capacity and high-energy-density Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes
May 21, 2013
|Amprius’ plan, outlined at the DOE Merit Review in 2012, is to start with consumer electronics and move to vehicle and grid storage markets. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
Amprius Inc., a developer of lithium-ion batteries using silicon nanowire anodes (earlier post), has launched the first generation of its high-capacity and high-energy-density Li-ion batteries. The company has begun supplying smartphone and tablet OEMs with its first first two product families, based on an 1,850 mAh (580 Wh/L) battery and a 4,060 mAh (600 Wh/L) battery. Amprius has also signed contracts with its OEM customers to design batteries that meet custom specifications.
The company has also demonstrated greater than 650 and 700 Wh/L batteries with its second-generation and third-generation technology platforms. Amprius plans to begun pilot production of its second-generation batteries later this year.
MIT team devises approaches for practical carbon-nanotube-coated carbon fiber; stronger, more electrically conductive
May 20, 2013
|MIT scientists demonstrated two approaches for growing CNTs on carbon fiber without degrading the fiber strength. Credit: ACS, Steiner et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at MIT have demonstrated two approaches for producing carbon fibers coated in carbon nanotubes without degrading the underlying fiber’s strength. A paper on the work, which could result in carbon-fiber composites that are not only stronger but also more electrically conductive, is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Hierarchical carbon fibers (CFs) sheathed with radial arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising candidates for improving the intra- and interlaminar properties of advanced fiber-reinforced composites (such as graphite/epoxy) and for high-surface-area electrodes for battery and supercapacitor architectures, the authors note.
Roskill forecasts increasing dependence of Li market on batteries; switch from portable electronics to hybrids
|Consumption of lithium in rechargeable batteries by end use, 2012-2017, kt LCE. Source: Roskill. Click to enlarge.|
In a forecast of the Lithium market through 2017, Roskill Information Services estimates that rechargeable batteries will, in the base-case growth scenario, contribute 75% of the growth in forecast lithium demand to 2017, when total demand for lithium is expected to reach slightly more than 238,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Roskill is an international metals and minerals market research firm.
Batteries accounted for 27% of global lithium consumption in 2012, up from 15% in 2007 and 8% in 2002. This end-use was responsible for 44% of the net increase in lithium consumption over the last ten years, and 70% over the last five years.
Rice theorists suggest layered graphene-boron Li-ion electrode material could have twice the capacity of graphite
May 17, 2013
Calculations by the Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson suggest that a layered graphene/boron (C3B) Li-ion battery anode material should have a capacity about twice that of graphite, with comparable power density and small volume variation during discharge/charge cycles. A paper on the work is published in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
The researchers found that monolayer C3B has a capacity of 714 mAh/g (as Li1.25C3B), while the capacity of stacked C3B is 857 mAh/g (as Li1.5C3B)—about twice as large as graphite’s 372 mAh/g (as LiC6). The results help clarify the mechanism of Li storage in low-dimensional materials, and shed light on the rational design of nanoarchitectures for energy storage, the team concluded.
DOE to award $62.5M over 5 years to USABC to accelerate development of next-gen EV batteries
May 15, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) to lead an industry-wide effort to accelerate development of high-efficiency, cost-effective battery technologies for electric vehicles.
USABC, managed by Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors, will solicit, fund, and manage cooperative research and development projects to improve next-generation advanced energy storage technologies for vehicles. Selected through a competitive solicitation, USABC will receive $12.5 million annually over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. The DOE investment will be matched with cost-share funding from the private sector.
Univ. of Missouri team progressing with convection battery; enabling rechargeable lithium-metal batteries
May 14, 2013
Researchers at the University of Missouri led by Prof. Galen Suppes say that they have further developed and validated the “convection battery” or “convection cell” technology originally announced in 2011 and 2012 (earlier post). The convection cell pumps electrolyte via a mechanical pump through porous electrodes to decrease diffusion overpotential losses and make the potential more uniform throughout the electrode.
The technology allows lithium-metal batteries to be recharged without the dendrite failure (short circuit) that has prevented rechargeable lithium-metal batteries from being commercially viable. The technology could thus enable lower-cost and lighter-weight batteries than otherwise possible, noted Dr. Suppes.
New study identifies electron transport as key limiter of Li-air charging
May 13, 2013
Researchers at MIT, the University of Pittsburgh, and Sandia National Laboratories have used transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging to observe the electrochemical oxidation of Li2O2, providing insights into the rate-limiting processes that govern charge in Li–O2 cells. The results of the study, reported in the ACS journal Nano Letters, suggest that electron transport in Li2O2 ultimately limits the oxidation kinetics at high rates or overpotentials.
The TEM technique could help in finding ways to make Li-air batteries—widely seen as important for the future wide-spread adoption of electromobility due to their inherently high energy densities—practical in the near future, the researchers, led by MIT professor Yang Shao-Horn and Pitt professor Scott X. Mao, suggested.
LG Chem Michigan Inc. to start automotive Li-ion battery production in July for Chevy Volt
May 06, 2013
LG Chem Michigan Inc. (LGCMI) is targeting the launch of commercial production of automotive lithium-ion battery cells in July, 2013 at its Holland, Michigan facility once it has successfully completed the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) and gained customer approval.
Test runs have already begun at the facility, and LGCMI anticipates shipping product by the end of this summer. The plant initially will manufacture batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, and the volume is expected to consistently increase depending on the EV market and securing additional contracts. The company is also working to procure additional programs for future production.
Western University team boosts LiFePo4 to 98% of theroetical capacity with unfolded graphene
May 02, 2013
|Image depicts the LiFePO4 particles anchored to the crimped unfolded graphene. Source: Jinli Yang. Click to enlarge.|
The research team from the Nanomaterials and Energy Group at the Western University led by Dr. Xueliang (Andy) Sun has reported that the specific capacity of LiFePO4 can be greatly boosted to up to 168 mAh g-1—98% of its theoretical capacity of 170 mAh g-1—by using unfolded graphene as a three dimensional (3D) conducting network for LiFePO4 nanoparticle growth. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
Olivine-typed LiFePO4 is considered to be an attractive cathode material for lithium-ion bateries (LIBs) applied in the new generation of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). Other work has shown that LiFePO4 battery performance is strongly depended on the carbon coating, which can enhance the electronic conductivity of the electrodes. The Western University researchers found that the graphene with different thickness and morphology has a significant impact on the performance of LiFePO4.
EV maker CODA files for Chap. 11 bankruptcy; restructuring business around energy storage
May 01, 2013
Struggling electric vehicle manufacturer CODA Holdings, Inc. has filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 in the US Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Petition Nº 13-11153) to enable the reorganization of its business solely around energy storage based on its Li-ion battery systems. This process is intended to enable CODA to complete a sale, to confirm a plan and to emerge from bankruptcy. CODA expects the sale process to take 45 days to complete.
FCO MA CODA Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, is leading a consortium of lenders intending to provide debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing to enable CODA’s extant energy storage business (CODA Energy) to remain fully operational during the restructuring process.
Valence Technology introduces new high-power Li-ion battery modules
Valence Technology recently announced the availability of the U-Charge P40-24, the first in a new generation of high-power battery modules utilizing the company’s lithium iron magnesium phosphate chemistry. The 1.024 kWh (25.6 V, 40 Ah) module is capable of 10-second discharge pulses of up to 700A (17C) and continuous discharge currents of 240A (6C). Along with providing high power discharge capabilities, the P40 can also be recharged from a 0% state of charge (SOC) to 90% SOC in less than an hour.
The new module is a complementary product offering to the existing U-Charge product line, which has been available since 2005. The P40-24 enables Valence to offer a “right-sized” battery pack for applications that require high discharge currents for short durations of time, as often seen in stationary requirements such as uninterruptible power systems (UPS) for data centers. The P40-24 offers numerous advantages over lead-acid battery powered UPS systems, such as a smaller footprint, longer life and higher operating temperature capabilities, the company says.
PARC launches ARPA-E-funded co-extrusion printed battery project
April 30, 2013
PARC, a Xerox company, has launched a project with the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under the 2012 Open Funding Opportunity. (Earlier post.) The Printed Integral Battery Project will leverage a PARC invented co-extrusion (CoEx) technology (earlier post) to demonstrate a lithium-ion battery manufacturing process that deposits the entire functional battery in a single pass.
The conventional lithium-ion battery manufacturing process requires that the two electrodes of a battery be made in two separate steps, and then combined together in a third step—each step adding cost that contributes to the high price of the final product. PARC’s Printed Integral Battery deposits the entire battery cell—cathode, separator, anode—in one single pass.
Fraunhofer researchers using student e-racer to demonstrate novel sensor and battery management systems
April 28, 2013
|The e-racer from the team at Hochschule Esslingen University of Applied Sciences Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS are using an electric race car designed by electrical engineering students from the e-racing team at the Hochschule Esslingen University of Applied Sciences (E.Stall) as a platform to showcase novel solutions for electronic sensor and battery management systems.
The Fraunhofer team developed the entire electronic sensor system in close collaboration with Seuffer GmbH & Co.KG, an industry partner with whom the institute has been working for over 11 years. Seuffer GmbH & Co.KG is based in Calw-Hirsau in Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany, and sponsors the students of the E.Stall racing team.
New lithium polysulfide flow battery for large-scale energy storage
April 25, 2013
Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a new lithium/polysulfide (Li/PS) semi-liquid (flow) battery for large-scale energy storage, with lithium polysulfide (Li2S8) in ether solvent as a catholyte and metallic lithium as an anode.
Unlike previous work on Li/S batteries with discharge products such as solid state Li2S2 and Li2S, the catholyte is designed to cycle only in the range between sulfur and Li2S4. Consequently, the team points out in a paper describing there work published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, all detrimental effects due to the formation and volume expansion of solid Li2S2/Li2S are avoided.
ALABC and CPT to introduce 48V LC Super Hybrid demonstrator at Vienna Motor Symposium
April 24, 2013
|12V and 48V LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrators. Click to enlarge.|
The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) will introduce a low-carbon 48 volt LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrator at the International Vienna Motor Symposium this week. The 48V LC Super Hybrid aims to demonstrate CO2 emissions of 120 g/km, combined with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in less than nine seconds, in a family-sized sedan.
Employing cost-effective low-voltage micro-mild hybrid technology, the LC Super Hybrid, which is based on a 1.4-liter VW Passat, will make its global debut at the 34th annual powertrain conference. The 48-volt version of the LC Super Hybrid complements the existing 12 volt technology demonstrator unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. (Earlier post.)
Maxwell supplying ultracapacitors for light rail braking energy recuperation system; 2.8% energy savings
April 23, 2013
|Clockwise from upper left: ESS enclosure, power control unit and ultracapacitor modules. Source: TIGGER, Tri-Met. Click to enlarge.|
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is supplying ultracapacitors for an energy-saving braking energy recuperation system that American Maglev Technology (AMT), is installing on light rail vehicles operated by the Portland, Oregon area’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet).
The ultracapacitor-based Energy Storage System (ESS) is an embedded system that captures, stores and discharges 0.7 kWh of energy for use in commercial transit applications. The ESS consists of the ultracapacitors and the required conditioning choppers and auxiliary devices to recapture and store a transit vehicle’s kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking to be re-used for future departures or for the vehicle’s auxiliary power.
Univ. of Illinois team develops high-power Li-ion microbatteries that can out-power supercapacitors while retaining comparable energy density
April 20, 2013
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a high-power and high-energy density microbattery constructed from interdigitated three-dimensional (3D) bicontinuous nanoporous electrodes. The new microbatteries out-power supercapacitors while retaining comparable energy density. The researchers published their results in Nature Communications.
The lithium-ion microbatteries show power densities up to 7.4 mW cm-2 µm-1, which equals or exceeds that of the best supercapacitors, and which is 2,000 times higher than that of other microbatteries, the researchers said. The microbatteries show energy densities of up to and energy densities up to 15 mW h cm-2 mm-1. The battery microarchitecture affords trade-offs between power and energy density that result in a high-performance power source, and which is scalable to larger areas.
Johnson Controls to supply AGM batteries to Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China; introducing 48V micro hybrid system
April 19, 2013
Johnson Controls will provide its Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) advanced lead-acid battery technology to power the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Start-Stop and other vehicles made in China to serve the China market. Start-Stop systems help reduce fuel consumption as the engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a stop in traffic or at a red light. The battery restarts the engine when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal or engages the clutch.
Separately, the company will debut to the China market its 48-volt Micro Hybrid battery demonstration module (earlier post) at the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai 2013). Leveraging a dual voltage architecture, the Micro Hybrid battery system involves a low voltage lead-acid battery and a 48 volt Lithium-ion battery that enable optimization of energy generation and consumption, thus saving fuel.
Paul Scherrer Institute and Toyota R&D team finds tiny memory effect in Li-ion batteries; implications for vehicle battery management systems
April 15, 2013
Up until now, Li-ion batteries have been considered to exhibit no “memory effect”—a deviation in the voltage of the battery resulting from repeated charging after being only partially discharged that can limit the usability of the stored energy as well as the ability to determine the state of charge of the battery reliably.
Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. in Japan have now reported a memory effect in lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) that appears after only one cycle of partial charge and discharge. This finding is important for most battery uses—including electromobility—as the slight voltage change it causes can lead to a reduction in usable capacity and a shift in the correlation between the voltage and charge status, resulting in substantial miscalculations in estimating the state of charge of batteries.
New “inverse vulcanization” process produces polymeric sulfur that can function as high performance electrodes for Li-S batteries
|Battery cycling data for poly(S-r-DIB) (10 wt% DIB, C/10 rate). Chung et al. Click to enlarge.|
A University of Arizona-led international research team has developed a simple process for making lightweight plastics from elemental sulfur; the team has successfully used a new polymeric sulfur produced via the process as an electrode material for lithium-sulfur batteries.
The new polymeric sulfur has electrochemical properties superior to those of the elemental sulfur now used in Li-S batteries, the researchers report in a paper published in Nature Chemistry. The team’s batteries exhibited high specific capacity (823 mAh/g at 100 cycles) and enhanced capacity retention.
XG Sciences launches graphene-stabilized silicon anode materials for Li-ion batteries
April 11, 2013
XG Sciences, Inc. (XGS), a manufacturer of graphene platelets, has launched silicon anode materials for Li-ion batteries, with immediate availability. The new anode material is produced through proprietary manufacturing processes and uses the company’s xGnP graphene nanoplatelets to stabilize silicon particles in a nano-engineered composite structure.
The material displays significantly improved charge storage capacity—around 4x that of conventional anode materials—with good cycle life and high efficiencies. Rob Privette, VP Energy Markets for the company, said that the exact performance of the new anode materials will depend on the specific battery formulations used by cell manufacturers. XGS has demonstrated capacity of 1500 mAh/g with low irreversible capacity loss and stable cycling performance.
President’s FY2014 Budget boosts DOE vehicle technology spending 75% to $575M; $282M for advanced biofuels
April 10, 2013
President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal submitted to Congress provides $28.4 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Energy, an 8% increase above the 2012 enacted level. Among the direct transportation-related highlights of the department’s budget proposal are $575 million for advanced vehicle technologies research, an increase of 75% over the enacted 2012 level; $282 million for the next-generation of advanced biofuels research; and the $2 billion Energy Security Trust to transition cars and trucks off of oil. (Earlier post.)
Other highlights include more than $5 billion (+5.7% over the 2012 enacted level) for the Office of Science for basic research and research infrastructure; $615 million to increase the use and decrease the costs of clean power from solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy; $365 million in advanced manufacturing research and development; and $147 million in research and development of smart grid investments, cybersecurity for energy control systems, and permitting, sitting, and analysis activities.
Sendyne IC achieves ten-fold increase in dynamic range of current measurement; targeted for EVs and grid applications
April 09, 2013
Sendyne Corp., a company that develops semiconductor components and advanced circuits for the management of battery systems used for grid storage and EVs, has introduced the SFP100, a high-precision current sensing IC, that extends by at least an order of magnitude the range of accurate measurements of current through a resistive shunt. The Sendyne SFP100 was designed to address the unique requirements of battery monitoring in energy storage systems, such as those used for electric vehicles (EVs), grid storage and photovoltaic arrays, where large variations of current need to be monitored accurately.
Sendyne’s SFP100 is a high precision sensing IC that simultaneously measures bi-directional DC current through a resistive shunt, voltage, and temperature at four points using two 24-bit ΣΔ ADCs. Qualified to AECQ100, the SFP100 is rated for the automotive temperature range of –40 °C to +125 °C.
ETH team synthesizes tin nanocrystals for high-performance Li-ion anodes
April 08, 2013
|Reversible discharge capacities (normalized by the content of active material) for anodes with (top) 30 wt % Sn/SnO2 NCs and (bottom) a high mass content (63.75%) of an active Sn-based material. Credit: ACS, Kravchyk et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from ETH Zürich have synthesized highly monodisperse colloidal Sn and Sn/SnO2 (tin/tin dioxide) nanocrystals for use as an anode material in Li-ion batteries. Testing showed that 10 nm Sn/SnO2 nanocrystals enable high cycling stability, in contrast to commercial 100–150 nm powders of Sn and SnO2. In particular, reversible Li-storage capacities above 700 mAh g–1 were obtained after 100 cycles of deep charging (0.005–2 V) at a relatively high current of 1000 mAh g–1. A paper on their work appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Tin-based materials (like silicon-based materials) offer specific capacity values much higher than conventional graphite. However, these classes of materials suffer from large volume expansion during lithiation, which generates enormous mechanical stress and pulverizes the electrode during the charge/discharge cycles, resulting in rapid capacity fade.
NSF to award up to $13M for fundamental work on sustainable production of electricity and transportation fuels
April 07, 2013
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a grants opportunity notice (PD-14-7644) for up to about $13 million in awards to fundamental research and education that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and transportation fuels. Processes for sustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources.
The duration of unsolicited awards is typically three years. The average annual award size for the program is $100,000. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review. Current interest areas in sustainable energy technologies are as follows:
Fraunhofer researchers report significant extension to Li-S cycle life with silicon anodes and CNT-sulfur composite cathodes
April 02, 2013
Lithium-sulfur batteries are of great interest for electromobility applications, among others, due to their high specific energy and relatively low cost, but are challenged by significant capacity decay over cycling. (Earlier post.) Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden, Germany say they have developed new cathode and anode designs for lithium-sulfur batteries that can increase the cycle life by a factor of seven.
According to Dr. Holger Althues, head of the Chemical Surface Technology group at IWS, by using the combination of silicon anode and composite carbon nanotube/sulfur cathode materials, the team has extended the cycle life of lithium-sulfur button cells from 200 cycles to 1,400 cycles.
China team develops hollow porous silica nanocubes for anodes for Li-ion batteries
March 29, 2013
|Schematic illustration for the structure change of hollow porous SiO2 nanocubes during the discharge/charge process. Yan et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at the University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei) has developed hollow porous SiO2 (silicon dioxide, or silica—e.g., sand, or quartz) nanocubes as an anode material for Li-ion batteries (LIBs). In a paper in Scientific Reports, the Nature Publishing Group’s open access journal, the team reported that the nanocubes exhibited a reversible capacity of 919 mAhg−1 over 30 cycles.
They attributed the electrochemical performance to the unique hollow nanostructure with large volume interior and numerous crevices in the shell, which could accommodate the volume change and alleviate the structural strain during Li ions’ insertion and extraction, as well as allow rapid access of Li ions during charge/discharge cycling.
Mercedes-Benz introduces 2014 B-Class Electric Drive; on sale first in US in 2014
March 27, 2013
|Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz staged the world premiere of the production battery-electric 2014 B-Class Electric Drive at the New York International Auto Show; a concept version had appeared last year at the Paris Motor Show. (Earlier post.)
The B-Class Electric Drive is equipped with a 100 kW electric motor with 310 N·m (221 lb-ft) of torque, with a range of 115 miles (185 km). Acceleration from 0-60 mph is under 10 s, and the top speed is 100 mph (160 km/h). The powertrain was developed in collaboration with Tesla Motors, said Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars, during the launch presentation.
EnerG2 nano-structured hard carbon boosts Li-ion anode capacity by >50% compared to standard graphite
|A chart from EnerG2’s 2012 DOE Merit Review presentation shows different pore profiles for different energy storage applications. Click to enlarge.|
EnerG2, a manufacturer of advanced carbons for next-generation energy storage (earlier post), has begun production of nano-structured hard carbon for Li-ion battery anodes that it says can boost anode capacity by more than 50% over standard graphite.
Engineering surface area, pore size distribution, and total pore volume can deliver carbon material with a broad range of surface properties. These properties can be tailored and modified for adaptation to the specific requirements of a given energy storage application.
Ionova Technologies says ZIP-Cap ultracapacitors can offer 5x increase in energy density and 25x reduction in build cost (updated with graphic)
March 25, 2013
|Sketch describing the ZIP-Cap architecture and how it differs from that of the EDLC. Source: Ionova. Click to enlarge.|
Ionova Technologies, Inc. reports that its zinc-ion-based ZIP-Cap asymmetric ultracapacitor is expected to provide a 25-fold reduction in build cost and a 5-fold increase in energy density (up to 35Wh/L) without the ultra-pure materials or expensive “dry-room” facilities that are necessary to build today’s ultracapacitors.
Asymmetric ultracapacitors achieve greater energy density versus today’s Electric Double Layer Capacitors (EDLCs) by combining one activated carbon EDLC ion-adsorption electrode with one ion-insertion (battery-like) electrode. ZIP-Cap is based on Ionova’s metal/ion pseudo-capacitor (MIP-Cap) architecture and 3-D Nanofilm technology developed under research programs with the US Department of Energy, NASA and the Naval Research Lab.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
Researchers at Rice University develop vanadium oxide-graphene materials for high power-density Li-ion batteries with ultrafast charging and discharging
|Rate capacities of VO2-graphene architectures with different VO2 contents, measured for 30 cycles at each selected rate from 1C to 190C. Credit: ACS, Yang et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team from Rice University has developed vanadium oxide (VO2)-graphene ribbon materials that, when used as cathode materials in Li-ion batteries, enable ultrafast, “supercapacitor-like” charge and discharge rates with long cycle life while maintaining highly reversible capacity. In a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the researchers suggested that this “breakthrough in cathode materials with ultrafast charging and discharging capability...can significantly prompt the rapid development and applications of high-power lithium ion batteries.”
With the single crystalline VO2-graphene ribbons as cathodes, a full charge or discharge is capable in 20 seconds. The electrodes retain more than 90% of the initial capacity after cycling more than 1,000 times at an ultrahigh rate of 190C, providing the best reported rate performance for cathodes in lithium ion batteries to date.
Boeing details improvements to Li-ion battery system for 787; more than 200,000 engineering hours applied so far
On 12 March, Boeing received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration of its plan to test and certify improvements to the 787’s Li-ion battery system. (Earlier post.) On 14 March, Mike Sinnett, Vice President and Chief Project Engineer, 787 program provided a technical briefing to media on the set of improvements to the lithium-ion batteries on 787 commercial jetliners.
The company’s intent is to provide three layers of protection: preventing initiation of an event at the cell level; preventing propagation of an event to the other cells in the pack; and preventing impact to the airplane. To do so, Boeing is making changes to the battery, to the battery charger, and is building a new enclosure for the battery.
Stanford study quantifies energetic costs of grid-scale energy storage over time; current batteries the worst performers; the need to improve cycle life by 3-10x
March 10, 2013
|A plot of ESOI for 7 potential grid-scale energy storage technologies. Credit: Barnhart and Benson, 2013. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by Charles J. Barnhart and Sally M. Benson from Stanford University and Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) has quantified the energetic costs of 7 different grid-scale energy storage technologies over time. Using a new metric—“Energy Stored on Invested, ESOI”—they concluded that batteries were the worst performers, while compressed air energy storage (CAES) performed the best, followed by pumped hydro storage (PHS). Their results are published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
As the percentage of electricity supply from wind and solar increases, grid operators will need to employ strategies and technologies, including energy storage, to balance supply with demand given the intermittency of the renewable supply. The Stanford study considered a future US grid where up to 80% of the electricity comes from renewables.
New aqueous rechargeable lithium battery shows good safety, high reliability, high energy density and low cost; another post Li-ion alternative
March 08, 2013
|Schematic illustration of the aqueous rechargeable lithium battery (ARLB) using the coated lithium metal as anode, LiMn2O4 as cathode and 0.5 mol l-1 Li2SO4 aqueous solution as electrolyte. Wang et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from Fudan University in China and Technische Universität Chemnitz in Germany have developed an aqueous rechargeable lithium battery (ARLB) using coated Li metal as the anode. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the open access journal from the Nature Publishing Group, the team reports that the ARLB delivers an output voltage of about 4V.
The battery shows an energy density of up to 446 Wh kg-1—about 80% higher than conventional Li-ion batteries, and much higher than energy densities reported for earlier ARLBs (30–45 Wh kg-1). The battery, which can be low cost and reliable in terms of safety, provides another chemistry for post Li-ion batteries, they suggest, and with higher practical energy densities than Li-air systems for supporting applications including electric vehicles and large-scale grid energy storage.
GM CEO outlines highlights of fuel economy plan through MY2016: lightweighting; more efficient gasoline and clean diesel engines, electrification
March 07, 2013
Within his talk about the need for a US energy policy at the IHS CERAWeek 2013 energy conference in Houston, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson outlined some highlights of the company’s fuel economy plan through the 2016 model year.
The auto industry should play a central role in the energy discussion, Akerson noted, because light-duty vehicles account for about 60% of total transportation energy usage in the United States. Automakers are currently deploying and developing technologies that will satisfy customers and make an enormous contribution to energy security at the same time, he added. The near-term elements of GM’s fuel economy efforts he adduced are:
NETZSCH and NREL collaborate to commercialize NREL isothermal calorimeter technology for large format Li-ion batteries
March 04, 2013
|Basic concept of a calorimeter design. Pesaran et al., 2013. Click to enlarge.|
NETZSCH Instrument North America, LLC and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are collaborating to develop a new isothermal calorimeter to test the performance and safety of Large Format Li-Ion Batteries (LFLIBs) used extensively in electric vehicles, airplanes, military application, as well as stationary power back-up and storage applications.
The new isothermal calorimeter will be based on patent-pending technology developed by a team of NREL researchers. The instrumentation will be able safely and accurately to characterize heat output and efficiency of LFLIBs, in varying temperature, pressure, load and use conditions, providing precise and critical information previously unavailable.
Honda develops process to reuse rare earth metals extracted from old NiMH batteries for new NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles
March 03, 2013
|Honda’s process for recycling NiMH batteries. The new portion of the process is outlined in red. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has established what it says it is the first process to reuse rare earth metals extracted from old nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries for new nickel-metal hydride batteries for use in hybrid vehicles.
Honda has been extracting an oxide containing rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries at the plant of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. (JMC). (Earlier post.) Now, by applying molten salt electrolysis to this oxide, Honda has succeeded in extracting metallized rare earth that can be used directly as negative-electrode materials for nickel-metal hydride batteries.
CalBattery licenses Argonne silicon-graphene material for high-energy Li-ion batteries; targeting commercial availability in 2014
February 26, 2013
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and California Lithium Battery, Inc. (CalBattery) have signed a licensing agreement for an Argonne-developed, silicon-graphene composite anode material for high-energy lithium batteries. CalBattery says it plans to move forward rapidly in the commercial scale-up and production of the novel composite anode material and to offer it in commercial production in the US by 2014.
CalBattery had earlier entered into a Work for Others (WFO) program with ANL to commercialize an advanced Li-ion battery combining ANL’s Si-graphene anode materials with other advanced battery materials into a Very Large Format (400+ Ah) prismatic cell targeting grid-scale storage and EV applications. CalBattery had an option for exclusive and non-exclusive rights to the ANL Si-graphene process. (Earlier post.)
Cabot launches first graphene-based additive to improve energy density of lithium-ion batteries
February 25, 2013
Cabot Corp. launched LITX G700, the company’s first graphene-based additive for high energy density lithium-ion battery applications. (Earlier post.) Utilizing graphene material developed on the basis of a new technology platform, this new additive helps lithium-ion battery manufacturers improve cell performance.
The LITX G700 conductive additive is a graphene-based additive designed for use in electric vehicle and high-end consumer electronics in which better driving range and longer run times are critical performance features.
OSU team demonstrates concept of potassium-air battery as alternative to lithium-air systems
February 18, 2013
|Voltage curves of the first discharge−charge cycle, K−O2 battery (0.5 M KPF6 in DME) at a current density of 0.16 mA/cm2. The dash lines indicate the calculated thermodynamic potentials for the batteries. Credit: ACS, Ren and Wu. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have demonstrated the concept of a potassium-air (K−O2) battery with low overpotentials. In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they reported a charge/discharge potential gap smaller than 50 mV at a current density of 0.16 mA/cm2—the lowest ever reported in metal-oxygen batteries, according to the team.
While lithium-air (Li–O2) batteries are widely seen as promising future energy storage systems, especially for electric vehicles, development and subsequent commercialization of the technology still faces a number of hurdles, including the large overpotentials of the discharge (formation of Li2O2) and charge (oxidation of Li2O2) reactions, which undermine the energy efficiency.
ARPA-E RANGE: $20M for robust transformational energy storage systems for EVs; 3x the range at 1/3 the cost
February 17, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000869) for about $20 million for the development of transformational electrochemical energy storage technologies intended to accelerate widespread electric vehicle adoption by significantly improving driving range, cost, and reliability. ARPA-E anticipates making approximately 8- 12 awards under this FOA.
The Robust Affordable Next Generation EV-Storage (RANGE) program’s goal is to enable a 3X increase in electric vehicle range (from ~80 to ~240 miles per charge) with a simultaneous price reduction of > 1/3 (to ~ $30,000). If successful, these vehicles will provide near cost and range parity to gasoline-powered ICE vehicles, ARPA-E said.
Stanford team develops new approach to overcoming capacity fading in Lithium-sulfur batteries
February 15, 2013
Lithium sulfur batteries are of great interest due to their high specific energy and relatively low cost (e.g., earlier post). However, Li-S batteries exhibit significant capacity decay over cycling. A team at Stanford University lef by Profesor Yi Cui has now identified a new capacity fading mechanism of the sulfur cathodes and developed a new approach to overcoming this mechanism. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
The new capacity fading mechanism relates to the detachment of lithium sulfide from the carbon surface during the discharge process. To overcome this mechanism, they introduced amphiphilic polymers to modify the carbon surface. The modified sulfur cathode shows excellent cycling performance with specific capacity close to 1180 mAh/g at C/5 current rate. Capacity retention of 80% is achieved over 300 cycles at C/2.
DOE Inspector General review finds automotive Li-ion battery maker LG Chem Michigan misused Recovery Act funds; DOE management, low market demand contributory
A review by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found that Li-ion battery maker LG Chem Michigan misused funds awarded to it under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
The OIG review found that LG Chem Michigan inappropriately claimed and was reimbursed for labor charges incurred by a variety employees for activities that did not benefit the project. As a result, up to about $842,000 in reimbursements for labor charges were questioned. The review also found that work performed under the grant to LG Chem Michigan had not been managed effectively. Despite the expenditures of $142 million in Recovery Act funds, LG Chem Michigan had not yet achieved the objectives outlined in its DOE-approved project plan. Among the objectives was the production of enough battery cells annually to equip 60,000 electric vehicles by the end of 2013, with assembly beginning in 2012.
USC team develops new porous silicon nanoparticle material for high-performance Li-ion anodes
February 12, 2013
|A new USC-developed process produces porous silicon nanoparticles for high-performance Li-ion anodes. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a new nanostructured silicon material for use as high performance lithium-ion battery anodes. The porous silicon nanoparticles, prepared using a novel two-step process combining controlled boron doping and facile electroless etching, have achieved capacities around 1,400 mA·h/g at a current rate of 1 A/g, and 1,000 mA·h/g at 2 A/g, with stable operation when combined with reduced graphene oxide and tested over up to 200 cycles.
In a paper published in the journal Nano Research, the team attributed the overall good performance to the combination of porous silicon that can accommodate large volume change during cycling and provide large surface area accessible to electrolyte, and reduced graphene oxide that can serve as an elastic and electrically conductive matrix for the porous silicon nanoparticles.
Researchers demonstrate alternate approaches to building Li-S batteries for improved capacity retention
February 11, 2013
|Cycling performance of the different samples (the specific capacity was calculated by using the active material mass (sulfur) of the composites, given in mA h g-1). Demir-Cakan et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team from the University of Picardie Jules Verne (France) and Alistore ERI (European Research Institute) has demonstrated new approaches to lithium-sulfur (Li-S) rechargeable batteries (earlier post) with improved capacity retention. An open access paper on their work was recently published in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science.
Li-S batteries face a number of commercialization challenges, including electrolyte-soluble polysulfides. To counter the solubility of polysulfides, other teams have pursued confinement approaches aiming to trap sulfur within the cathode side; however, success has been limited, the French team noted. Instead, they “drastically deviate[d] from this approach” and used a liquid cathode obtained by dissolving polysulfides within the electrolyte (catholytes) and also placed sulfur powders in contact with the Li negative electrode (“SLi”).
High capacity germanium oxide/germanium nanocomposite for Li-ion anode material
February 10, 2013
Researchers from the University of Wollongong, Australia and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), S. Korea, have developed a germanium oxide/germanium nanocomposite (GeO2/Ge/C) anode material for Li-ion batteries that shows a high capacity of up to 1860 mAh/g at 1 C (2.1 A/g) rate and 1680 mAh/g at 10 C rate. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
They attributed the good electrochemical performance to the increase in reversibility of the conversion reaction of GeO2 by the presence of the elemental germanium nanoparticles present in the composite.
Panasonic develops 12V NiMH energy recovery system for start-stop vehicles; aims to double fuel economy improvement rate of start-stop systems
February 08, 2013
|Concept of the 12V Energy Recovery System for start-stop. Click to enlarge.|
Panasonic Corporation has developed a NiMH-based 12V Energy Recovery System for start-stop systems in vehicles. This system allows the energy generated during braking to be stored in the batteries and use the stored energy to power the vehicle’s electrical components, thus ensuring power availability even when the engine is not being used. The system is also designed to supply power to the drive assist motor, improving fuel economy.
With this 12V Energy Recovery System, Panasonic aims to approximately double the fuel economy improvement rate of existing start-stop systems over conventional gasoline-engine vehicles.
DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption
February 02, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between DOE and the Department of the Army, the Army plans to contribute $3.5 million in co-funding for several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will release the final version after a period of public comment and revision. The FOA contains a total of 11 areas of interest (AOIs) in the general areas of advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants. Specific AOIs are:
Liox Power reports first operation of a Li-air battery with a straight-chain alkyl amide electrolyte solvent; new direction for Li-air research
February 01, 2013
Researchers at startup Liox Power, a California-based company developing rechargeable Li-air batteries, have demonstrated for the first time the operation of a lithium-air battery with a Li anode in a straight-chain alkyl amide electrolyte solvent (N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMA)/lithium nitrate (LiNO3)). A Li−O2 cell containing this electrolyte composition cycled for more than 2000 h (>80 cycles) at a current density of 0.1 mA/cm2, retaining >95% capacity and a consistent charging profile.
The discovery of an electrolyte system that is compatible with both electrodes in a Li−O2 cell may eliminate the need for protecting the anode with a ceramic membrane, and provides a new direction for Li−O2 battery research, the team suggests in their paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
New A123 Systems LLC emerges
January 30, 2013
Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems LLC, a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Wanxiang America Corporation, has acquired substantially all of the non-government business assets of bankrupt A123 Systems, Inc.
Included in the acquisition, which has received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), are A123’s automotive, grid and commercial business assets, including technology, products, customer contracts and U.S. facilities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri; its manufacturing operations in China; and its equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., A123’s joint venture with Shanghai Automotive. Excluded from the acquisition is A123’s Ann Arbor, Mich.-based government business, including contracts with the US military, which were acquired by Navitas Systems LLC.
NTSB investigation into Dreamliner Li-ion fire finds signs of short circuiting, thermal runaway
January 24, 2013
|Damaged electrode with sign of internal short circuit from the 787 Li-ion battery. Source: NTSB. Click to enlarge.|
At a briefing on the progress in the investigation of the Li-ion battery fire on-board a JAL Boeing 787 at Logan Airpot in Boston (earlier post), NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman reported that the investigating team had found signs of electrical short circuiting and thermal runaway in the cells. The NTSB is working to determine the cause.
The next steps in what appears will be a lengthy investigation will be to complete the in-house laboratory examinations; conduct examinations and testing of exemplar batteries; and to synthesize lab examination findings with fire forensics and aviation systems investigation.
BMW and Toyota expand collaboration with work on fuel cell system, sports vehicle, light-weight technology and Li-air battery
BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle; and joint research and development of lightweight technologies. These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012. (Earlier post.)
The companies also today signed a binding agreement to commence collaborative research on lithium-air batteries. This agreement marks the second phase of collaborative research into next-generation lithium-ion battery cells that commenced in March 2012. (Earlier post.) The main points of the new agreements are:
ORNL team develops high-performance solid electrolyte for Li-ion batteries; enabler for high energy density
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a high-performance, nanostructured solid electrolyte for more energy-dense lithium ion batteries.
Lithium-ion-conducting solid electrolytes could enable high-energy battery chemistries, circumventing safety issues of conventional lithium batteries, which use liquid electrolytes. However, achieving the required combination of high ionic conductivity and a broad electrochemical window in solid electrolytes is a grand challenge for the synthesis of battery materials, the authors note in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In the paper, they report an enhancement of the room-temperature lithium-ion conductivity by 3 orders of magnitude through the creation of nanoporous Li3PS4 (lithium thiophosphate).
High-performance micro-sized Si-C composite for Li-ion anodes offers high tap density for high volumetric capacity
January 23, 2013
|Cycling performance of the Si-C composite and porous Si at 400 mA/g. Source: Yi et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at Penn State University has synthesized a micro-sized silicon-carbon (Si-C) composite consisting of interconnected Si and carbon nanoscale building blocks as anode materials for Li-ion batteries (LIBs). The Si-C composite, produced by a low-cost and large-scale approach, exhibits a reversible capacity of 1459 mAh/g after 200 cycles at 1 A/g with a capacity retention of 97.8%, with high-rate performance of 1100 and 700 mAh/g at current densities of 6.4 A/g and 12.8 A/g.
The material, reported in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, also features the highest tap density (0.78 g/cm3) of Si-based materials yet reported in literature and thus achieves a high volumetric capacity, the researchers said. (Tap density is bulk density of a powder after a compaction process.)
SK Continental E-motion launches automotive Li-ion battery business; 48V mild hybrid program
January 21, 2013
At the beginning of this year, SK Continental E-motion—the joint venture between SK Innovation, and Continental—closed the transaction and officially started operations following the approval of the relevant authorities. (Earlier post.) SK Continental E-motion will jointly develop, produce and distribute lithium-ion based battery systems for cars and light commercial vehicles.
SK Continental E-motion has started working on initial development programs in the 48V mild hybrid segment as well as for commercial vehicle applications.
Goodenough perspective on Li-ion batteries; in transportation, PHEVs for the near-term, longer term requires new electrochemical strategies
Dr. John Goodenough at the University of Texas at Austin and colleague Kyu-Sung Park have written a perspective paper on Li-ion batteries (LIBs), published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Goodenough invented lithium cobalt oxide cathode materials while at Oxford University; his technology was used in the first commercial Li-ion battery, launched by Sony in 1991. More recently, at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Goodenough patented a new class of iron phosphate materials. (Earlier post.)
The paper covers the basics of the electrochemistry of LIBs and the development of new materials and electrolytes in the search for higher capacities; it also addresses the challenge of energy storage in transportation applications with the target of displacing the internal combustion engine.
Williams Hybrid Power and Alstom cooperate to develop flywheel energy storage technology for Citadis trams
January 17, 2013
|Williams flywheel unit. Click to enlarge.|
Williams Hybrid Power, a division of the Williams group of companies that includes the Williams F1 Team, and Alstom Transport have signed an exclusive agreement that will see Williams Hybrid Power’s composite flywheel energy storage technology (earlier post) applied to Alstom’s Citadis trams by 2014.
After several years of research into energy storage, Alstom teamed up with Williams Hybrid Power to trial its composite MLC (magnetically loaded composite) flywheel energy storage technology which offers potential fuel savings of 15% when installed in public transport applications.
FAA grounds US Boeing 787 Dreamliners after second incident with Li-ion battery; GS Yuasa Lithium Power the manufacturer
As a result of an in-flight battery incident on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner yesterday in Japan, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and to require operators to temporarily cease operations of the aircraft.
Before further flight, operators of US-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe. The FAA said it will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the US 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.
Pike Research forecasts automotive Li-ion battery market to grow to almost $22B in 2020; China to become global leader in production by 2015
January 11, 2013
|Total lithium-ion transportation battery revenue by region, world markets: 2012-2020. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.|
In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that the overall market for Li-ion batteries in light duty transportation will grow from $1.6 billion in 2012 to almost $22 billion in 2020.
Battery-electric vehicles will be the dominant vehicle technology for driving market growth, Pike suggests, because they utilize much larger battery packs than plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Current BEVs use battery packs ranging from 16 kWh to 85 kWh compared to PHEV packs ranging from 4 kWh to 16 kWh, for example.
New process for synthesizing nano-tin/carbon composite spheres for high-performance Li-ion anode material
January 10, 2013
|Cycling performance at 0.02−3 V and 200 mA/g of the nano-Sn/C composite. Credit: ACS, Xu et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a new process—aerosol spray pyrolysis—to synthesize nano-Sn/C (nano-tin/carbon) composites for a Li-ion anode with uniformly dispersed 10 nm nano-Sn particles within a spherical carbon matrix. The discharge capacity of nano-Sn/C composite sphere anodes maintains the initial capacity of 710 mAh/g after 130 cycles at 0.25 C. The nano-Sn/C composite sphere anodes can provide ∼600 mAh/g even at a high rate of 20 C.
In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the team attributes the “exceptional” performance to the unique nano-Sn/C structure, adding that to the best of their knowledge, such high-rate performance for tin anodes has not been reported previously. Broadly, the benefits of the structure are:
Sulfur–TiO2 yolk-shell cathode for Li-sulfur battery shows best long-cycle performance so far
January 09, 2013
Researchers at Stanford University and SLAC led by Stanford associate professor Yi Cui have used a sulfur–TiO2 yolk–shell design for a cathode material for a lithium-sulfur battery that achieved an initial specific capacity of 1,030 mAh g−1 at 0.5 C and Coulombic efficiency of 98.4% over 1,000 cycles. Most importantly, the team reported in a paper in the journal Nature Communications, the capacity decay after 1,000 cycles is as small as 0.033% per cycle, which represents the best performance for long-cycle lithium–sulfur batteries so far.
The advantage of the yolk–shell structure is the presence of the internal void space that can accommodate the large volumetric expansion of sulfur during lithiation, thus preserving the structural integrity of the shell and minimizing polysulfide dissolution and enabling the high capacity retention. The authors say that, to the best of their knowledge, this is the first time that a lithium–sulfur battery with this level of performance has been described.
ORNL researcher explores impact of motor/generator and battery pack sizing on medium-duty PHEV; optimization framework
January 04, 2013
|GHG emissions in PHEV post-transmission configuration as an example of the optimization study output. Source: A.A. Malikopoulos. Click to enlarge.|
Using a new optimization framework, Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos of the Energy & Transportation Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has explored the impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions of varying the size of the motor/generator and battery pack in pre- and post-transmission hybrid configurations of a medium-duty PHEV. The paper is currently in press in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology.
Broadly, he found that for the PHEV pre-transmission configuration, there is a trade-off between fuel economy and GHG emissions when the motor/generator and battery size increases. In post-transmission PHEV configurations, however, a combination of a big motor/generator size with a big battery size appears to be beneficial both in terms of fuel economy and GHG emissions as it enhances energy recovery during brake regeneration as a result of the physical location of the motor/generator.
Carbon-coated Si nanoparticles in CNT networks show promise as stable Li-ion anode materials
January 03, 2013
|Cycling performance of Si, Si@C, and Si@C−CNTs at 100 mA g−1 and within a voltage window of 0.02−2.0 V. Credit: ACS, Xue et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have combined carbon coating and a carbon nanotube (CNT) framework to improve the cycling stability of Si (silicon) anodes for Li-ion batteries. In a paper published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, they report carbon-coated Si nanoparticles dispersed in CNT networks show capacity retention of 70% after 40 cycles—a much better rate of retention than carbon-coated Si nanoparticles without CNTs.
In this novel structure, the carbon layer can improve electric conductivity and buffer the severe volume change, whereas the tangled CNT network is expected to provide additional mechanical strength to maintain the integrity of electrodes, stabilize the electric conductive network for active Si, and eventually lead to better cycling performance.
Cornell team proposes new scheme for Lithium-sulfide battery cathodes
December 31, 2012
|Discharge capacity (left axis) and Coulombic efficiency (right axis) of the Li2S-C cathode as a function of cycle number. A fixed current density of 200 mA g-1 was used for these measurements. Credit: ACS, Guo et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at Cornell University are proposing a new scheme for cathodes for lithium-sulfide batteries (earlier post) to prevent lithium polysulfide dissolution and shuttling during electrochemical cycling. Their approach, described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, creates composites based on lithium sulfide uniformly dispersed in a carbon host, which serve to sequester polysulfides.
Li-sulfur batteries—which conventionally use elemental sulfur (with conductive additives) as the cathode, an aprotic liquid electrolyte, and lithium metal as the anode—are under intensive investigation by research groups worldwide because of the promise for low-cost, high-energy storage. (Earlier post.) Lithium sulfide (Li2S) is a promising cathode material for high-energy lithium ion batteries because, unlike elemental sulfur, it obviates the need for metallic lithium anodes.
ITOCHU to acquire 20.7% of issued shares of Toda Kogyo to strengthen position in Li-ion cathode materials market
December 28, 2012
ITOCHU Corporation signed a capital/business partnership with materials company Toda Kogyo through which ITOCHU will own 20.7% of Toda Kogyo’s issued shares (22.1% ownership of voting shares), placing Toda Kogyo as an equity-method affiliate of ITOCHU.
ITOCHU will utilize the technological capability and production facilities of Toda Kogyo to strengthen its trade business in Li-ion cathode materials—a market expected to exceed ¥300 billion (US$3.5 billion) in 2015—and in the electronic materials business for high growth sectors such as smartphones, tablets, and PCs, as well as electric vehicle (EVs). ITOCHU will also seek to develop strategic products for new applications.
St. Andrews team elucidates behavior of carbon cathodes in Li-air batteries; the importance of the synergy between electrode and electrolyte
Carbon is seen as an attractive potential cathode material for aprotic (non-aqueous) Lithium-air batteries, which are themselves of great interest for applications such as in electric vehicles because of the cells’ high theoretical specific energy.
However, the stability of carbon and the effect of carbon on electrolyte decomposition in such cells are not deeply understood at this point. A team at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) led by Prof. Peter Bruce has further investigated the behavior of carbon as a possible porous cathode for aprotic Li-air cells; a paper on their work is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Highly efficient non-precious metal electrocatalyst for ORR in fuel cells and metal-air batteries
December 18, 2012
A team of S. Korean and American scientists led by Dr. Jaephil Cho at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) reports on a newly developed, highly efficient non-precious metal electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
Inspired by the tetrapod structures of a breakwater, the novel material for electrodes is created from affordable melamine foam and carbon black. The unique porous architecture greatly facilitates rapid mass transport, while the N-doped ketjenblack and Fe/Fe3C-functionalized surface of the framework significantly enhance the ORR activity of cathodes for fuel cells and metal-air batteries.
Anderman: Li-ion capacity far outstripping demand as automakers focus more on hybrids, less on full EVs
Global automotive Li-Ion battery production capacity is outstripping demand five-to-one as automakers refocus on hybrids and away from full electric vehicles, according to Dr. Menahem Anderman’s recently released xEV Industry Insider Report. Anderman is founder and chairman of the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC); the 13th annual conference is scheduled for February 2013 in Pasadena, California.
The report notes that despite heavy subsidies by governments and automakers, 2012 EV sales are coming short of meeting many automakers’ sales and production plans. Conversely, those of HEVs are in line with plans. As a result, production plans for EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) for the next 4-5 years are being slashed. Anderman projects a global EV/PHEV 2016 market at around 0.6% of anticipated 2016 new vehicle sales, leaving the over-invested battery industry in a trying environment.
Johnson Controls files appeal of A123 sale, seeking payment of break-up fee and expenses; says still “open” to buying parts if Wanxiang sale not completed
December 17, 2012
As part of the sale order, the court had ordered the escrow of the break-up fee and expense reimbursement due to Johnson Controls under its stalking-horse agreement with A123. Johnson Controls is appealing the sale order to obtain the breakup fee and expense reimbursement to which it says it is entitled under that agreement and which were previously approved by the bankruptcy court.
Bosch forms Robert Bosch Battery Systems; Fiat 500e first EV with a Bosch pack
December 13, 2012
With the relevant authorities having given their approval, Bosch is moving ahead with the reorganization of its lithium-ion traction battery operations following the dissolution of its joint venture with Samsung, SB LiMotive. (Earlier post.) Effective immediately, the former operating units SB LiMotive Germany GmbH in Stuttgart and Cobasys LLC based in Orion, Michigan, will be incorporated into the Bosch Group as a wholly owned subsidiary under the new name Robert Bosch Battery Systems.
As part of the further intensification of battery activities, Bosch has taken on all existing battery system projects. Bosch plans for Samsung SDI to be the cell supplier. In addition, Bosch will have the flexibility to use cells from other manufacturers. The Fiat 500e, which was recently unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will go into series production in 2013 (earlier post), is the first all-electric vehicle with a Bosch battery pack.
Researchers find lithium accumulating in copper current collectors in Li-on batteries; potential role in degrading performance
Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers have discovered an unexpected factor that could degrade the performance of the Li-ion batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric vehicles.
The team, which recently reported its findings in a paper in the journal Scripta Materialia, was examining used car batteries and discovered that over time, lithium accumulates in the copper current collector (CCC)—a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car’s electrical system. The lithium impurity in the CCC will lead to degradation in the cell’s thermal and electrical behavior and thus cannot be ignored for overall efforts in understanding the aging mechanisms predicting the life and performance of the batteries, the team said.
Nissan launches EV battery manufacturing in Smyrna plant
December 12, 2012
Nissan has launched production in its new battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The plant, which is making battery components for the ramp-up of production of the 2013 Nissan LEAF early next year, is located adjacent to Nissan’s existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which itself has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF.
Combined, the construction of the battery plant and modification of the Smyrna manufacturing facility represent an investment of up to $1.7 billion when built to full capacity. The project is supported by a US Department of Energy (DOE) loan for up to $1.4 billion, issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. (Earlier post.)
Ford’s Key Life Battery test for Li-ion batteries simulates 10 years, 150K miles in 10 months, under different conditions
Leveraging some 20 years of experience and data reaching back to its early work with hybrids and the Ranger EV, Ford has developed a battery model and life validation protocol it now uses to predict how lithium-ion batteries are likely to perform under 10 years and 150,000 miles of use (40-season equivalent key life tests). The Key Life Test (KLT) takes about 10 months to complete.
Ford had earlier developed a NiMH battery model for use in KLTs, as detailed in a 2010 paper by a Ford team (Yang et al.) published in the International Journal of Energy Research. A detailed core model incorporating critical degradation mechanisms of battery components under various usage profiles is key to the testing. The Li-ion KLT test allows engineers to simulate many factors affecting the Li-ion batteries, including location of a battery within a vehicle; the temperatures they might have to endure; and various kinds of acceleration and stopping that different drivers would apply.
Pike Research forecasts $18B market in 2020 for advanced lead-acid batteries, 58% in transportation
December 10, 2012
In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that the advanced lead-acid battery (LAB) market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8% over the next 8 years. Of the projected US$18-billion market in 2020, 58% of the sales will be from the transportation sector, historically one of the most of important industries for lead-acid batteries.
New applications will constitute the rest of the market volume, according to the report, “Advanced Lead-Acid Batteries”, driven by the expanding market potential of the global grid storage market. By 2020, Pike Research forecasts that advanced lead-acid batteries will capture roughly 25% of the global battery-based grid storage market, a small subset of the broader energy storage market. The market value for advanced lead-acid batteries in grid storage will be approximately $6.8 billion in 2020, according to Pike.
A123 Systems reaches agreement to sell substantially all assets to Wanxiang for $256.6M
December 09, 2012
A123 Systems, Inc. reached agreement on the terms of an asset purchase agreement with Wanxiang America Corporation through which Wanxiang would acquire substantially all of A123’s assets for $256.6 million. (Earlier post.) Wanxiang outbid a joint Johnson Controls and NEC offer and a bid from Siemens in an auction held on 6 December for the assets of the bankrupt Li-ion battery maker.
According to the terms of the asset purchase agreement, Wanxiang would acquire A123’s automotive, grid and commercial business assets, including all technology, products, customer contracts and US facilities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri; its cathode powder manufacturing operations in China; and its equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., A123’s joint venture with Shanghai Automotive.
BASF investigating sodium-air batteries as alternative to Li-air; patent application filed with USPTO
December 06, 2012
|Discharge–charge cycles of Na–O2 cells at various current densities (i.e., the rate capability). Cutoff potentials were set to 1.8 V for discharge and 3.6 V for charge. Dotted line: E0(NaO2) = 2.27 V. Hartmann et al. Click to enlarge.|
In a paper in Nature Materials, a team of researchers from BASF SE and Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen report on the performance of a sodium-air (sodium superoxide) cell. Their work, they suggest, demonstrates that substitution of lithium by sodium may offer an unexpected route towards rechargeable metal–air batteries. BASF SE has filed a Provisional Patent Application (US 61/615901) directed to sodium-oxygen cells as described in the paper with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
While Li-air batteries have attracted a great deal of interest as future high-capacity systems ideal for longer-range electric vehicles, there remain a number of issues to be resolved, the authors note. (Earlier post.) Replacing lithium with sodium to build an analogous Na–O2 cell with sodium peroxide (Na2O2) as the discharge product offers the opportunity to construct a cell system with a high energy density (E0 = 2.33 V, wth = 1,605 Wh kg−1 (Na2O2). However, this system can also suffer from similar high overpotentials and low energy efficiencies when using carbonate-based sodium electrolytes.
DOE to award up to $62.5M for applied research in high-energy and -power batteries and ultracaps for automotive applications
December 04, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000722) to award up to $62.5 million over 5 years to a single consortium to support applied research into electrochemical storage technologies—i.e., high-power and high-energy batteries and ultracapacitors—suitable for automobile industry applications. DOE anticipates making a single award with an award size ranging from $25,000,000 to $62,500,000 in DOE share along with 50% cost-share requirement.
DOE also recently selected a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory for a 5-year award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. (Earlier post.) The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D capabilities of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving longer-term revolutionary advances in battery performance, targeting electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid.
Berkeley Lab team develops high-performance lithium sulfide-carbon composite cathode materials for high-energy batteries targeting EVs
Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed nanostructured lithium sulfide/carbon (Li2S–C) composite cathodes that show promise for use in high-energy batteries. The paper on their work, published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, follows shortly after an earlier report from a Stanford team led by Yi Cui on another approach to using lithium-sulfide materials to build rechargeable batteries with specific energies of about 4 times that of current technology and approaching those of lithium-sulfur (LiS) systems, while avoiding some of the issues with those systems. (Earlier post.)
The Berkeley Lab team reported that, with a very high specific capacity of 1144 mA·h·g–1 (98% of the theoretical value) obtained at a high Li2S content (67.5 wt %), the estimated specific energy of a cell using the nanostructured composite was 610 W·h·kg–1—the highest demonstrated so far for lithium-sulfide cells. The cells also maintained good rate capability and improved cycle life.