Advanced Battery Technologies, (ABAT) a developer and manufacturer of rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer batteries, has successfully completed phase one tests of cells built with electrode nanomaterials from Altairnano (formerly Altair Nanotechnologies). The two companies announced a mutually exclusive development agreement in April 2005.
The testing indicated a significant improvement in recharge time. With Altairnano’s rapid charge Lithium Titanate Spinel electrode nanomaterials, recharge time was approximately 30 to 45 minutes, compared to recharge time for existing ABAT batteries of approximately 3 to 3.5 hours.
The multi-phased material and battery performance testing program is designed to refine the product and process specifications for the electrode materials and new battery products. The batteries will be tested in standard battery test protocols and in real world tests using electric cars and buses later this year.
The conventional ABAT Lithium-ion polymer battery supports a top speed of 75 mph for cars and 62.5 mph for buses and a traveling distance of approximately 200 miles per charge for cars and 150 miles for buses, according to ABAT.
In addition to reducing recharge time, Altairnano believes that with rapid charge electrode nanomaterials the typical battery life cycle of 1,000 recharge cycles before any degradation of performance can be increased to 20,000+ cycles.
Such a combination would, of course, enhance operational efficiency and lower operating costs for electric powered vehicles.
Lithium Titanate Spinel (Li4Ti5O12) is a specific crystalline phase of lithium titanate, which in Altair’s process is nearly 100% pure. Spinel is one of a group of minerals which crystallize with an octahedral habit.
Research has shown a relationship between the surface area (particle size) of nano-crystalline lithium titanate spinel and charge rate. Altairnano’s patented process can manufacture a wide range of particle-sized lithium titanate spinel materials. With the knowledge and the ability to control particle size, Altair can produce a material that can completely charge in one hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes or one minute depending on the particle size and the application requirement. (The image at right shows 500 nm size.)
In April, ABAT struck an agreement with ZAP to retrofit a range of ZAP electric vehicles with ABAT Lithium Polymer batteries and chargers. (Earlier post.)
“Li Insertion into Li4Ti5O12 Spinel—Charge Capability vs. Particle Size in Thin-Film Electrodes,” July 2003, Journal of Electrochemical Society (JES), Vol. 150, Pages A1000-A1007