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A123 Venture Technologies to collaborate with SolidEnergy on safer, high-energy battery chemistry; potentially up to ~800 Wh/kg

SolidEnergy says that its Solid Polymer Ionic Liquid technology can deliver energy densities upwards of 800 Wh/kg—twice the densities of advanced startup batteries and four times the density of current conventional batteries. Source: SolidEnergy. Click to enlarge.

A123 Venture Technologies, a Massachusetts-based technology incubator, will collaborate with MIT startup SolidEnergy. This strategic partnership leverages SolidEnergy’s solid electrolyte technology which enables the safe and practical use of lithium metal anodes for high energy density batteries in a wide range of applications. This partnership also marks the first publicly announced agreement under A123’s expanded R&D model introduced earlier this year. (Earlier post.)

The partnership combines SolidEnergy’s Solid Polymer Ionic Liquid (SPIL) electrolyte—originally developed at MIT—with the mature cell design and prototyping capabilities of A123. As claimed by founder Dr. Qichao Hu in the company’s presentation at the US DOE’s 2012 National Clean Energy Business Competition, SolidEnergy technology can potentially deliver energy densities of up to 800 Wh/kg—twice the energy density of state-of-the-art batteries and four times the energy density compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries.

The companies plan to jointly produce consumer electronics battery prototypes within the next year, followed by electric vehicle battery prototypes. SolidEnergy staff will also be hosted in A123’s Waltham, Massachusetts development facility. Test results are expected to be ready for discussion with target customers in the latter part of 2014.

SPIL. The SolidEnergy prototype battery combines a Li(NiMnCo)O2 (NMC) cathode; the novel electrolyte; and a solid-polymer-coated lithium metal anode. The electrolyte combines ionic liquid and liquid polymer to provide both the safety and wide temperature capability required for advanced batteries, while the solid-polymer-coated lithium anode significantly boosts energy density and cycle life.

“So what’s wrong with batteries today? One is safety—they blow up. Second is energy density. They don’t last long enough.”
—Dr. Qichao Hu

The polymer and ionic liquid both have low vapor pressure and are safe up to 300 °C, while the solid polymer coating on the lithium metal anode prevents dendrite growth.

SolidEnergy PIL batteries are cathode-independent, but compatible with current and future cutting-edge cathodes.

SolidEnergy, founded in 2012, decided to partner with A123 Venture Technologies for its world-class labs, innovation and rapid scale-up experience, and battery design expertise. A123 Venture Technologies’ incubator business model was launched last spring at MIT’s Knowledge Foundation conference as a way to provide start-ups with access to its development facilities, battery know-how, and market access in exchange for services revenue, equity and cooperation on commercialization.

Additionally, both A123 and SolidEnergy began with MIT research, making this partnership a natural fit.

A123 Systems LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wanxiang Group, is a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems for transportation, electric grid and lead-acid replacement applications. The company’s proprietary Nanophosphate lithium iron phosphate technology is built on novel nanoscale materials initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is designed to deliver high power and energy density, increased safety and extended life.




I'm actually really shocked at the increase in reliable energy density in packs over the last 10 years. Beyond the graphic above, it would be interesting to chart the 'advanced product' lab and 'installed' battery densities over time since the early 2000s. I never would have guessed a Tesla type product out there or even this Solidenergy potential beyond proof-of-concept before 2020. Maybe 25% BEV penetration per family unit before 2020? Unbelievable. Though safety and environment-conditions success to be proven.


If this JV manage to ass produce a 800+ Wh/Kg rugged, safe, affordable battery, sales of EVs would take off every where.

A small 100 Kg (80+ kWh) battery pack would give up to 800 Km range for a small well designed light e-vehicles.


If they are Ass produced I dont care if they are affordable, worth seeing


Im interrested to buy but not in a bev but in a hydrogen fuelcell car. Fcev have also batteries so this battery can serve to build a thing nobody have ever said, i say a plug-in fcev. The best of both world, cheap fuel cost per mile and unlimited range with hydrogen.


gorr! Where you been buddy? This is your second post in two days after being totally quiet for nearly 6 months.

Bob Wallace

a.b. - Hydrogen fuel cell cars would not have unlimited range, it would be necessary to stop and refill the hydrogen tanks.

With a 800 Wh/kg battery it would be easy to drive more than 300 miles, stop for a half hour recharge (eat a meal while charging) and then drive another 300 miles. Really no different than driving a FCEV.

It would be more expensive by at least 2x per mile to drive with hydrogen than electricity. Hydrogen is nothing more than an inefficient storage system, batteries are much more efficient.

Michael B.

If they are Ass produced, that would be the ultimate in recycling. Still might have a flame hazard though.


@ DaveD, i've been at the hospital but now im fine, thanks.


Glad you're out and hope you're feeling better. :)


lucky it was a small battery pack
otherwise it might be painful


Sorry, the (m) in mass was dropped and (mass) became (ass). Not intended.

However, affordable future batteries with 800 to 1200+ Wh/Kg will make EVs worldwide winners by a wide margin. It may happen as soon as 2020 or shortly thereafter?

Electricity is the most available energy source and clean solar is limitless and most available where poor people live. We owe them to make it happen so they can join the rest of the world.


I think you mean arse.

Ass, burros, donkeys, mules, jackass.

I could make these.
If they were designed to be built by monkeys I would be in real trouble.


I want these for my laptop and phone!
If they work they'll have no trouble selling as many as they can make.

Roger Pham

This is perfect for a high-volume mass produced PHEV that is dedicated for that role, designed from a clean-sheet approach. With only a 2-cylinder ICE in that PHEV with a small and light-weight battery pack of 16 kWh but at 1/2 the size of the pack size of the Ford C-max Energi, and normal trunk space and internal space, at a price competitve with current ICEV's. This 16-kWh battery pack may be able to give 50 mile of AER due to weight reduction of the engine and the battery pack.

Adding solar cells embedded on top surfaces of this PHEV and the fuel will be completely free in the summers. Winter use will need the ICE for cabin waste heat for about ~1/2 of the AM drive to work, but the return trip can run on solar energy alone if the day is sunny enough. So, minimum plug-in needed if at all due to solar energy, minimum fill-up with petroleum, while can drive all day on cross-country trips without requiring fast electricity fast charging. Repeat this for 50 million vehicles in the future beyond 2020, and wow...


@ Roger,

Regarding embedded solar panels on the car and fuel being "completely free in the summers," does the math really support that?

If you can manage to get 3 square meters of usable top surface area for solar cells that are 15% efficient, at an average insolation of 0.8 Kwh/square meter for 8 hours per day, you get 0.8*.15*8*3= 2.88kWh/day ...which leaves you about 13 kWh short per day of filling your 16 kWh battery.

HarveyD forget to factor in a potential 3X improvement in solar cells and transparent solar cells in all car windows in the next 20 to 20 years or so.

Roger Pham

For a compact car with 1.5 m across and 4.5m length, you will have almost 7 m^2 of plan form area. Minus windows area, almost 5 m^2 could be available.
For an area of 5m^2 at 20% solar efficiency, a 1kW of solar power rating is available. In sunny areas w/ 2000 kWh/kW/year, one will get on average of 5.5 kWh/day of solar energy. This will allow 15-20 mile of driving in a BEV, at 3-4 mile/kWh.

In the summer, there will be over~7kWh of energy/day which will provide up to 30 mi of range on solar power and hence can be totally sufficient for most people. In the winters, not so much sunlight will be available, however, the ICE will need be used for the start of the trip for cabin heating until the cabin is warm, then the ICE can be shut down.

If 50 million cars with 1 kW of solar capacity, then we will have installed 50 GW of solar power without any infrastructure modification and any installation cost any maintenance required, and w/out any grid storage requirement, nor any extra inverter, etc... Talking about very cheap solar energy.

Nick Lyons

@Roger: I could see the benefit of having a few roof-integrated solar cells running a fan to keep the interior cool while parked in the sun. Otherwise, put solar cells on your house and feed it to the grid. Charge your car from the grid.

Also, if you really can have 800 Wh/kg, why would you need a plugin? Such energy density would vindicate Tesla's pure-electric-car paradigm, I think.


Glad you are better gorr.
I thought you might be interested to buy the hospital! ;-)

As an aside, although I am not really a fan of solar installed on cars, there is no need to deduct the glazed area from the available surface, since there are options coming up for lightweight transparent cells.

Kit P

"Otherwise, put solar cells on your house and feed it to the grid."

Do you have evidence that it is both economical and good for the environment on Roger's house?

I am not ruling out that it is possible but why higher gypsies to roof your house. Solar PV scam artists give gypsies a bad name.

Roger Pham

@Nick Lyons,
Of course, solar cells will be put on the roof. Eventually, roofs of all new houses will be required to have functional PV cells integrated into the shingles in order to minimize installation cost. Perhaps the utility company will own and maintain these PV assets and integrate them into the grid, for the purpose of providing daytime peak power and to save on the use of expensive NG peak electricity. This will make solar PV even more cost-effective when already designed into and built-in to construction projects. There will be essentially no additional installation cost that can reduce the cost of installed PV panels to 1/2 of current add-on installed PV projects. This will be cheaper than developing solar farms because in the solar farms, lands must be acquired and supporting structures and transmission lines must be built. Perhaps new NG pipings will be made H2-compatible so that eventually, local H2-FC will be used to back up integrated solar PV and waste heat can be used for water and living space heating. In the summer, the waste heat from electrolysis can also be used for water heating as well.

The economic advantage of having PV cells integrated into a car's upper surfaces is due to the savings in installation cost, wiring cost, and supporting hardware cost for making the electricity grid compatible. DC electricity from the PV cells is fed directly to the DC battery without the use of inverter and rectifier as in grid-compatible installation, thereby savings in efficiency loss and in hardware cost. No additional cost for utility energy storage since the on-board battery will do just that.

Why PHEV will still be desirable when 800Wh/kg battery will come around? Because of four things:

1. Convenience in rapid fueling for long trips without dependence on fast charging facilities.

2. Potential for Plug-out advantage during prolonged grid outtage, and for camping trips with access to vast power supply.

3. A given quantity of Battery will be available for 3-10 times more vehicles, thus will reduce the bottleneck in battery production rate for PEV production.

4. Much more extensive utilization of battery cycle life before encroachment of battery calendar life...meaning that you'll get to replace the small battery pack after using the heck out of it before it will age and will lose capacity just from the aging process. The large Tesla battery pack will age and perhaps more battery life will be lost thru ageing than thru charging cycles.

Bob Wallace

The current average cost for residential solar is $4.81/watt. $3.37/watt after the 30% federal rebate.

In the less sunny NE that means 19.1c/kWh or 5.73c per mile. The equivalent of running a 50 MPG hybrid on $2.87/gallon fuel.

In the sunny SW that means 14.6c/kWh or 4.38c per mile. The equivalent of running a 50 MPG hybrid on $2.19 fuel.

Countries such as Germany and Australia which have been more aggressive about building their solar installation industries are installing for ~$2/watt. When we catch up with them costs will drop to around 11.3c/kWh (NE) and 8.6c/kWh (SW).

When that happens then it would be like running a 50 MPG hybrid on $1.70/gallon fuel (NE) to $1.29/gallon fuel (SW).

The best solution, if one is able to use net metering, it to put the panels on your house/garage roof and feed the power to the grid during peak demand hours. No worry about parking in the shade. Then charge late at night with cheap wind-electricity.

The average 13,000 mile per year driver needs roughly a 3kW system to supply all the electricity they need for the next 30+ years. 3,000 watts at $3.37/watt is $10,110. That's $28 per month for your "fuel bill".

And it will get cheaper.


800 wh per kilogram? That is a lot better than a Chevy Volt which is more like 80 wh per kilogram, since the battery pack weighs about 500 pounds and stores about 16KWH (about 45% a gallon of gas equivalent) of electricity. Of course the battery cells themselves are slightly more energy dense because some weight is involved in the battery pack for thermal management, sensors, crash protection.


Thanks for the calculations Bob W.


Solar systems installed at the residence are OK for initial charge and for home usage but does not extend e-range of BEVs.

As most long rides are taken during daylight hours, ultra light integrated on-board solar energy collectors could extend e-range by 30% to 60% (and more on lighter better designed EVs). Smaller on-board batteries could be used.

However, when batteries performance reach 1000+ Wh/Kg, on-board solar energy collectors and/or on-board generators may not be required. The days of pure EVs would be a reality?

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