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Asahi Kasei and Central Glass join IBM Li-air Battery 500 project; membranes and electrolytes

Girishkumar
Four different architectures of Li-air batteries, which all assume the use of lithium metal as the anode. The three liquid electrolyte architectures are aprotic, aqueous, and a mixed aprotic-aqueous system. In addition, a fully solid state architecture is also given. Credit, ACS, Girishkumar et al. Click to enlarge.

Asahi Kasei and Central Glass will join IBM’s Battery 500 Project team to collaborate on far-reaching research to develop practical Lithium-air batteries capable of powering a family-sized electric car for approximately 500 miles (800 km) on a single charge—i.e., a battery pack with about 125 kWh capacity at an average use of 250 Wh/mile. IBM launched the project in 2009. (Earlier post.)

As partners in the Battery 500 Project, Asahi Kasei and Central Glass bring decades of materials innovation for the automotive industry to the team. They will expand the project’s scope and, although the scientific and engineering challenges to its practical implementation are extremely high, explore several chemistries simultaneously to increase the chances of success.

  • Asahi Kasei, one of Japan’s leading chemical manufactures and a leading global supplier of separator membrane for lithium-ion batteries, will use its experience in innovative membrane technology to create a critical component for lithium-air batteries.

  • Central Glass, a leading global electrolyte manufacturer for lithium-ion batteries, will use its chemical expertise in this field to create a new class of electrolytes and high-performance additives specifically designed to improve lithium-air batteries.

To popularize electric cars, IBM says, an energy density ten times greater than that of conventional lithium-ion batteries is needed, and these new partners to the project can help drive lithium-air technology towards that goal. Lithium-air batteries have higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, due to their lighter cathodes and the fact that their primary “fuel” is the oxygen readily available in the atmosphere.

New materials development is vitally important to ensuring the viability of lithium-air battery technology. As a long-standing partner of IBM and leader in developing high-performance electrolytes for batteries, we’re excited to share each other’s chemical and scientific expertise in a field as exciting as electric vehicles.

—Tatsuya Mori, Director, Executive Managing Officer, Central Glass

In a 2010 Perspective (Girishkumar et al.) published in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, a team from IBM Research-Almaden suggested that the transition to Li-air batteries (if successful) should be viewed in terms of a multi-decade development cycle.

This research will take place at IBM Research – Almaden in California. The Battery 500 Project research is also done in conjunction with the other Battery 500 Project collaborators, including national laboratories.

Resources

  • G. Girishkumar, B. McCloskey, A. C. Luntz, S. Swanson and W. Wilcke (2010) Lithium-Air Battery: Promise and Challenges. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., doi: 10.1021/jz1005384

Comments

Zhukova

Sorry, I meant 2.8 miles per kWh.

On the other hand, the EV-1 had a combined cycle range of 78 miles, double the Volt, and got 6.1 miles per kWh, more than double the Volt. It tells you something about how far we've come since 1997.

joe.vanni


As soon as I created the rapid charging columns in service stations the bottleneck becomes another.

Let’s compare the filling up of gasoline cars. If 20 minutes is the time for filling up 10 cars, I should have 10 fast charging columns of 150 KW , i.e. an electric power of 1,5 MW.
If I produce electricity in the service station, that's a problem. I can’t use fossil fuel, that’s a non-sense. Renewable power plants could be distant. Therefore I have to redo the electric lines to transport large amounts of electricity.

Both smart grid and many rapid charging points must be quickly created.

Great range batteries (at sustainable price) allows you to bypass the problem of absence of rapid charging points

Zhukova

Rapid charging stations exist now, there will be more in the future. If there is money to be made, service stations will accomidate them. Power companies will have no problem putting in more substations. Eventually, fast charging will be the norm for BEVs because they reduce the need to drag around a lot of expensive dead weight in large batteries.

Transporting electrical energy to fast charge stations is much easier and safer than transporting gasoline by tanker truck. Also gas stations need huge underground reseroirs of four or five blends of gas/diesel fuels. Fast charging stations could be as common as vending machines or parking meters. There won't be any service station bottlenecks. Look how fast cell phone towers went up over the last 15 years. Fast charging stations will be a lot easier to install and will be available in step with demand.

Engineer-Poet

Joe, it might make more sense to site storage at the charging station for covering peak demands (and perhaps utility load-levelling as well).  Something like Whitacre's sodium-ion batteries could do the job.  Even if the specific power is low (say, 30 W/kg), you can put an awful lot of batteries in a container-sized package and just drop it onto mounting piers at the installation site.  At 30 W/kg, 1.5 MW takes 50 tons.  That's a couple semi-loads, no big deal.

joe.vanni

After realizing an adequate number of rapid charging columns the problem is another.
Let’s compare the filling up of gasoline cars. If 20 minutes is the time for filling up 10 gasoline cars, for the same time and number of electric cars we need 10 fast charging columns of 150 KW , i.e. an electric power of 1,5 MW.

If I produce electricity in the service station, that's a problem. I can’t use fossil fuel, that’s a non-sense. Renewable power plants could be distant. Therefore I have to redo the electric lines to transport large amounts of electricity.
Both smart grid and many rapid charging points must be quickly created.

Great range batteries (at sustainable price) allows you to bypass the problem of absence of rapid charging points

Engineer-Poet

Joe, can you do any better than just repeating yourself?

Roger Pham

Fast-charging a lithium-air battery? Fawgettaboutit! Fast-chargeable LiFePO4? No need to do that when you put about 5-8 kWh of it in a PHEV. Why make one 40 kWh BEV when one can make 5 PHEV's with 8kWh capacity, or 8 PHEV's with 5 kWh capacity? Or make 30 HEV's with 1.3 kWh battery capacity a piece when we are using largely fossil fuel for power generation? Why not wait until we have frequent surpluses of renewable energy to start adding larger battery capacity to HEV's to turn them into PHEV's? Let's add charging sockets to work-place parking before churning out PHEV's, so that these PHEV's can help soak up intermittent renewable energy surpluses.

Roger Pham

Fast-charging a lithium-air battery? May not be possible. Fast-chargeable LiFePO4? No need to do that when you put about 5-8 kWh of it in a PHEV. Why make one 40 kWh BEV when one can make 5 PHEV's with 8kWh capacity, or 8 PHEV's with 5 kWh capacity? Or make 30 HEV's with 1.3 kWh battery capacity a piece when we are using largely fossil fuel for power generation? Why not wait until we have frequent surpluses of renewable energy to start adding larger battery capacity to HEV's to turn them into PHEV's? Let's add charging sockets to work-place parking before churning out PHEV's, so that these PHEV's can help soak up intermittent renewable energy surpluses.

Roger Pham

Sorry for the double posting in this quirky TypePad.

Arne

joe.vanni,

Since when has a 1.5 MW grid connection become a problem? You can just call your energy company and they'll happily provide you with all the MW's you'd ever want. There are factories that gobble up in the 100's of MW.

1.5 MW is no big deal, perhaps a transformer or a local section of the grid might need reinforcement. Energy companies do that all the time. It is routine.

joe.vanni

EXUSE ME for the repeatition,

just cause problems of comunication

danm

Many good pts made.
People will accept a limited range EV (say, 60 miles) when the price of the EV drops down below $15k.
People would accept a THINK-type small EV if the price was cheap enough.
They might still want an ICE for longer trips (until they realize they should just rent one when needed).

joe.vanni

@Anne @Zhukova
Making a connection of 1.5 MW is not a problem.
The problem is the cost to connect millions of these, and the impact (=another cost) toward the electric grid with balancing problems of the electric loads.
That’s the reason because it is important the smart grid.
In addition it will take years to realize all these new connections to the grid.

This is one of the factors that slow down the success of the electric car.
There is a way to shorten the time and to reduce these costs and is to accelerate the research for have as soon as cheap and great range electric batteries.

With a fraction of the money needed to strengthen the grid invested in research I would get the same result and other benefits.
I reduce the number of charge points, because the car could have enough range and be recharged at home by night.
Only a small part of car would continue to be in need of fast charge points located at service stations and car parks

@Roger Pham
Another advantage when you can recharge the batteries in your home is to be able to use the renewable energy sources that are better exploitable as little plants widespread in the coutry and that would be active part of the smart grid.
Suppose -strengthening research- we have the lithium batteries air within 5 rather than ten years. At least three-quarters of cars and trucks could be electric and dispense with fast charge points.

joe.vanni

@Engineer-Poet
Storing large quantities of electricity with batteries is expensive and has significant losses.
20% ? For how many cycles? The market will tell us whether and when batteries will arrive quite competitive.
Electrical energy is precious..

Engineer-Poet

Losses depend on the battery, and if your goal is to have large amounts of power available at a charger while managing load on the grid, you are going to need some kind of buffer.

A couple of years ago we had some news about a sodium-ion battery with aqueous electrolytes developed by one Jay Whitacre.  I'm not finding anything newer than 2010, but a battery based on what amounts to saltwater has the potential to be extremely cheap.  Whitacre claimed long life, too.

joe.vanni

That is good news. Hopefully arrive soon on the market. This would help a lot the development of smart grid.

Old lead-acid batteries should be retired after many years of honorable service.

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