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University of Central Florida Researchers Verify Aspects of Planar Energy’s Solid-state Battery Approach; Potential for Half the Cost and Triple the Energy Density of Current Li-ion Cells

Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC) have verified findings by Planar Energy that could lead to significant cost and performance improvements in large format batteries for practical electric vehicles, according to the company.

Planar Energy, a developer of large-format, solid-state batteries, was co-founded by M. Scott Faris, a serial entrepreneur, and Battelle Ventures in 2007 as a spin-out of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Planar’s products are based upon a portfolio of patents in the areas of materials deposition, new materials and battery design technologies.

More specifically, Planar Energy’s has developed a new generation of inorganic solid state electrolyte and electrode materials along with a proprietary manufacturing process (Streaming Protocol for Electroless Electrochemical Deposition, or SPEED).

SPEED is a low-cost, high-speed, roll-to-roll deposition process, which is significantly more flexible and scalable than existing deposition methods, according to Planar. SPEED eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming vacuum deposition usually required for inorganic films. It also produces energy storage films that are significantly superior to slurry and polymer-based films used in traditional chemical batteries, Planar says.

Using water-based precursors, SPEED allows for the direct growth of self-assembled films directly on flexible substrates or directly on top of other films. Film growth is done under ambient conditions and with growth rates exceeding 1 micron/minute over large surface areas. SPEED-deposited films can range from single element films or complex inorganic chemistries with excellent stoichiometry. The SPEED process is compatible with a large array of known compound materials systems and it enables entirely new compound materials not achievable in vacuum or slurry-coating processes. As an example, Planar Energy’s proprietary electrolytes are based upon unique chemistries that cannot be achieved in vacuum deposition.

The company, which is showcasing its technology at the Department of Energy ARPA-E symposium in Washington this week, claims that its proprietary methodology will produce batteries that are superior to existing lithium-ion cells at less than half the cost per kilowatt-hour and with three times the energy density.

Members of Planar Energy’s research team conducted early work in solutions-based materials deposition at the former Bell Labs research center in Orlando, work that was continued at UCF focused in the field of low-cost solar films. Planar Energy has been working with UCF researchers on two Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) matching grants to develop its technology.

We recognized the potential for making better batteries and funded additional research for energy-storage materials. The underlying technology that enabled our materials breakthrough allows for the direct printing and growth of self-assembling films. Our technology overcomes the key technical barriers that have rendered solution-based processing impractical.

Our partnership with UCF and the FHTCC has enabled us to validate what our team at Planar Energy had previously concluded: that we can cut the cost of manufacturing a battery by 75 percent while creating efficiency and storage-capacity improvements two or three times greater than conventional processes, most notably those involving lithium-ion.

—Scott Faris, president and CEO of Planar Energy

Test results. Following are highlights of key test results from UCF released by Planar:

  • Planar Energy has identified a new class of solid-state electrolytes that have conductivity of 10-4 in measured samples and 10-3 in functional battery calculations. The conductivity ranges displayed allow for high-rate batteries required in automotive applications.

  • Planar Energy’s solid state electrolyte materials are deposited as thin films directly on active layers in the battery, eliminating the historic process of having to deposit films on separate substrates and then mechanically joining them.

  • Planar Energy’s electrolytes demonstrate the same performance level of liquid electrolytes currently used by the lithium-ion industry, but they are in a solid form factor.

  • Planar Energy’s change in form factor simplifies the battery manufacturing process and enables existing battery chemistries to function at 95% of their theoretical value.

  • Planar Energy’s batteries will be intrinsically safe, allowing customers to further reduce packaging requirements, as well as simplify the battery management system.

  • Planar Energy’s batteries have virtually no self discharge, allowing them to sit for long periods of time while retaining their charge. Traditional lithium-ion batteries have high discharge rates that are problematic for automotive applications.

Comments

HarveyD

Flexible roll to roll solid state batteries development has been taking place in Japan for some years now. Their performance is no where near what is claimed by Planar et al. However, that technology seems to have an important potential cost and format advantage.

If Planar et al can effectively reach 2x and 3x current energy density as claimed, it would constitute a major break-through for vehicular batteries. Three times the energy density with 1/3 potential mass production cost could be what is required for affordable longer e-range BEVs and lower cost PHEVs.

Eletruk

1 micron/minute hardly seems fast enough to be useful for production. Is that number correct? After about 2 years (1 million minutes) you have 1 meter of film?

SJC

This does sound good, I remember lithium polymer claims more than 10 years ago that came true, but did not change the world. They are using roll to roll techniques in thin film solar cell production. You start to see better manufacturing methods as an industry matures beyond the lab, prototypes and limited production.

If we can connect up production with consumption in a coordinated way, we will see success here. The market system waits for signals in a "chicken and egg" fashion. If they can guarantee markets, then they will invest in production. However the market does not develop because there is no production to drive costs down to increase consumption.

HealthyBreeze

@Elektruk,

I think that growth rate is in thickness, not length.
That is, you add layers of self-assembling nano materials that get thicker a micron a minute. What they don't say is how many microns of thickness before you dry the thing out, roll it up and package it?

kelly

A micron is a thousand nanometers(10 to the -6th meter).

Elements in thin film batteries can be a ~fraction of a micron thick (ex: see http://www.excellatron.com/advantage.htm )

If Planar Energy’s approach is true, it's another battery the market needs NOW.

Along these lines, is the Prieto Battery prototype to be released in January around and what's the commercial status of batteries like: Stanford Report, December 18, 2007 "Nanowire battery can hold 10 times the charge of existing lithium-ion battery.." etc.

HarveyD

It seems that none of the claimed breakthroughs in rechargeable batteries, in the last 4 or 5 years, have not (yet) made it to the market place.

Neither did the ESStor super caps?

Would more funds help to accellerate the process?

kelly

"Neither did the ESStor super caps?" It seems they used up their fifth year of second chances without a prototype.

"December 15, 2009 ..Prieto Battery
Colorado State University's Clean Energy commercialization arm, Cenergy, has co-founded a new company that will manufacture batteries up to 1,000 times more powerful, 10 times longer-lasting and cheaper than traditional batteries -- technology that could revolutionize the military, automobile and health care industries."
http://www.today.colostate.edu/story.aspx?id=2849

Can't the press require something to physically exist and maybe even demonstrate at least some of the claims before they declare those claims to the public?


HarveyD

There are over 20 local battery start ups currently working hard to try to find better and cheaper ways to build higher performance rechargeable batteries. Another 20 start ups will probably joint them by 2012/2015.

Some of the current start ups are: Plannar et al, Prieto, Seeo, Acta cell, Amprius, Atieva, Boston Power, CFX, Electrovaya, Enax, Envia systems, ETV motors, Farasis energy, Flux Power, K2 Energy Solution, Leyden Energy, Nexeon, Sakti3,
Porous Power Tech, Quallium, ESStor etc.

May a few of them (or many) find the way to mass produce a rechargeable device with 1000 Wh/Kg at $100 to $150 per Kwh by 2015/2016, if not, may it be done by 2020?

The financial resources involved are no where near enough ($5M to $50M per start up) and should be multiplied by at least 5x to 10x to get expected results faster.

Fully automated mass manufacturing facilities required (10 to 20 each for electrodes, battery assembly, control systems etc) will cost as much as $600M each and a second round of major financing will be required by 2015 or before. In other words, a minimum of $15+B is required for R & D and another $15+B for manufacturing facilities to develop and mass produce higher performance lower cost batteries by 2015+.

ToppaTom

10 to 20 companies, most of them privately WILL create a battery industry just as it created auto, aircraft, TV, computer, camcorder and etc industries.

Government funding gets you a politician choosing which technology to pursue.

We do not need more money wasted on the dead end technologies - let the industry sort this out.

HarveyD

TT:

To compete with Asia and Europe, USA's battery and associated control systems manufacturing firms will require about $30B of local and Fed incentives. Long term very low cost guaranteed loans + various tax credits could be used to convince private capital to make the large investments required.

If nothing is done, private manufacturing will certainly move out as it did for other technologies. Private capital moves very quickly. Look at what happened with BYD and many other battery firms in China.

Once battery and control systems plants have moved out, the vehicle manufacturing plants will follow.

It is wiser to invest into future clean technologies than to keep fighting more oil wars.

Stan Peterson

Harvey,

It is too bad that you don't understand R&D; nor do you understand the dead hand of government. Having created both successful and unsuccessful ventures, I do, to some extent.

The one thing that the serial rapist, and depraved monster, Chairman Mao said that was worth a moment of reflection was "Let a 1000 flowers bloom, and a 1000 ideas surface...", just before he killed all of them as subversives...

He was correct that there are fertile times, when lots of avenues need be explored, without let or hindrance. This is the time when a new technology merely needs to let the best ideas surface, compete, and win, on a level playing field.

The dead hand of government, as an example, subverted R&D into stem cell research by artificially supporting, with literally Billions of dollars, the self-admitted, phony Suk-ism results of 'embryonic stem cell' research.

It took almost a generation of failures to replicate the published fantasies of Dr. Suk; and then to return stem cell research to genuine avenues of creating pleuri-potent, Immune system Rejection-proof, 'Self' stem cells, before progress resumed.

That research, which is now producing valid results, and cures, was delayed for almost two decades or more, simply because 'embryonic stem cell' research fit into the needs of a politically connected industry. That Industry was influential enough to redirect and channel government sponsored medical research, that provided it some moral cover.

Now is not the time for massive R&D investment.

If you want to create industries here in North America, we need to recreate the environment that was used for 150 years as the US economy rose. We need to replace all our income taxes, with consumption taxes, that also tax foreign products equally. There is no reason that domestic manufacturers should be doubly taxed as they are by our income taxes; and then pay VAT taxes too, for overseas trade, while foreign manufactures do not pay substantial income taxes, and also obtain rebates on exported VAT sales.

HarveyD

Idemitsu Japan has developed a new A6 size laminated solid state Li-Ion battery with 500 to 700 Wh/Kg potential.

This 14V to 16V battery could be well suited to high power automotive configuration.

Research is well on its way to the 1000 Wh/Kg battery by 2015 or shortly thereafter.

Mass production should follow 2 to 3 years latter.

Very insteresting decade ahead for new higher energy density e-storage units for 2020+ BEVs.

HarveyD

Stan:

Your bad experiences may have left you with a twisted look on past USA development era. Those lawless days are over and could not exist again.

Taxes are here to stay, may they be based on revenues (profits, income and wages) or at the tail end as sale or transaction taxes. Tail end taxes could work if you could find a way to direct all/most purchases within your borders. Otherwise, people would quickly find a way to live and spend (purchase) just outside your borders to get away without paying sales and transaction taxes. It would also create a huge back market for goods and services paid in cash.

Have a look at what is happening with higher sale taxes on cigarettes. Tobacco products black market manufacturing and sales (mostly based on untouchable native people reserves) account for up to 66% of the total in our area. Much the same could happen with other commodities, goods and services with higher sale taxes. We could have something similar (and even worst than) the prohibition days all over again.

SJC

It seems to be the old picking "winners and losers" argument in the survival of the meanest jungle ideology. The government is merely providing loan guarantees in the absence of private capital. It is like the SBA, go get turned down by 3 banks and you might get a loan guarantee. Like student loans, the loan would not be made unless there is a government guarantee.

Making profits with no risk is a great thing for the private sector, without it these loans would not happen. Now the government makes Direct Loans to students and gets some of the $10 billion in profit the banks got with no risk. The same can be done with SBA and DOE loans.

A D

Im interrested to buy, this is awesome. The range is great and practical. Forget limp batteries like the one in the leaf. Even taxis can use that and save tons of money on fuel costs. Also this battery can store electricity from solar panels and/or windmills for free fuel . This was a breakthru i was waiting for. I still believe in hydrogen fuelcell but i think that this battery will cost less and be more practical overall.

Also an electric car cost less to build, last longer, do not pollute and drive better with better traction and better breaking power and lower center of gravity.

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