Battery breakthroughs

Discussion in 'General' started by Domenick, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    There has been a steady parade of breakthroughs in battery chemistry and technology ever since lithium ion cells began to be come widely used in the 2000's. None of them seemed to have really panned out. Yet.

    This thread is dedicated to announcements of breakthroughs (or even just improvements).

    To kick it off, we have this fresh example from Rice University we're calling the asphalt battery, though really, it only uses a bit of a certain type of asphalt.

    Anyway, imagine triple the energy density and 20X faster charging. Throw in good cycle life and we're potentially looking at a bonafide game changer. Seriously, this is the most promising battery chemistry I've ever seen.

    Inserting obligatory electron-scanned photo of material that no one can relate to here: Asphalt battery chemistry.jpg
     
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  2. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    There is a new one solid state lithium-ion battery from Mr. Goodenough (the lithium-ion battery inventor) waiting to be produced... "Goodenough's new battery boasts triple the energy storage of standard batteries, along with a much higher longevity. As an added bonus, the battery doesn't explode like lithium-ion batteries can", say Popular Mechanics on its 2017 Mars article.
     
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  3. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    That's true, the solid state battery has been getting a lot of headlines lately, with a number of different organizations working on it. Here's a post about Goodenough's effort. >Click here<
     
  4. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    More than half century ago I watched in Brazil a TV Series that came from Japan. This series named 'National Kid' (a space superhero that came here to our salvation...) has many episodes and 3 seasons... Everybody in Brazil at that time thought that it was a regular series produced for TV, but... No! It was, indeed, a TV ad for the National battery sold in Japan in the 50's... Years ahead National battery becomes Panasonic battery that everybody knows today... What I miss is that these researches for new
    batte National Kid.jpg ries are not being announced by traditional battery manufacturers ... When industry announce new fuel formulas we always see names like Exxon, Shelll etc ... In the case of cars there is always a great manufacturers launching a novelty or researching some innovation GM, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, etc... Why LG, Sanyo, Duracell, Panasonic, Sony, etc... do not do the same? They do not research for new batteries? Just one new kind of battery can change the world... This is not Good Enough? kkk
     
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  5. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    As to disprove what I said earlier ... A major manufacturer is announcing a new battery that charges in 6 minutes for a range of 320km. Here for Toshiba site
     
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  6. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, the Toshiba battery is interesting. They were all over the place in the late 2000's with their SCiB battery. Great charging speed, but energy density was lacking. Actually, they were picked up by Proterra (the electric bus people) to replace Altairnano as a battery supplier.

    Looks like they've improved the density quite a bit, but I suspect it still can't compete on energy density with Panasonic or LG Chem. There are still a good solution for some applications, but where energy density matters, in pack 60 kWh and up, they aren't quite there yet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
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  7. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    Well, if there is so many competitors (battery manufactures) we can imagine a race with EVs with the same specification (motor, aerokit) with the exception of the battery i.e. a race between different battery technologies. In fact a great laboratory for the manufacturers... For us it would be exciting to see the car that would give more laps on the track having a pit stop to recharge...
     
  8. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    The Toshiba SCiB looks like a feasible solution, but it would require >350 kW chargers everywhere. That would only happen if the batteries were dirt cheap, and with Toshiba's use of niobium that looks unlikely.

    As for the asphalt battery, that looks like something from the Rice hype machine (no knock on Rice, every university has one). The report is internally inconsistent, and it is at best a decade or more away from fruition. It will more probably never work.
     
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  9. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    A search result tells me niobium is $75/lb. Steep, but not knowing how much is used in a cell, it's difficult to say how it might affect the overall price. Supply seems to be fine. Brazil mines most of it, and still has unexploited property. I wouldn't count Toshiba's SCiB out because of this, but it's definitely something to consider if it affects pricing.
     
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  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'm fully aware that there have been at least scores, and more likely hundreds, of high-tech battery breakthrough announcements in the past few years, almost none of which have resulted in commercial products. So while I always read such announcements with interest, I treat them with extreme skepticism.

    The one which has me hopeful is Ionic Materials' solid state "plastic battery", which at least has a convincing laboratory demo, as shown on an episode of PBS's "Nova" entitled "Search for the Super Battery".

    But to use a baseball analogy, showing a lab demo is just getting to first base. Just like any claim for a better secondary (rechargeable) battery, they need to demonstrate they can mass produce it at a competitive cost, and that it will last for years, and can be charged fast enough without overheating -- hopefully faster than current batteries -- and has a sufficiently high energy density (that is, it's not much larger that batteries currently in use), and that it doesn't have any special requirements such as operating only in a narrow range of temperatures.

    Here's an excerpt from that "Nova" episode:


    I do recommend that every EV advocate watch that entire episode. The host unfortunately plays the clown to add entertainment, but other than that, it's pretty informative.

    PBS' "Nova: Search for the Super Battery"
     
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The major battery makers (Panasonic, Samsung, etc.) certainly are doing R&D to improve their batteries. But perhaps their efforts are more directed towards evolutionary improvements, rather than revolutionary breakthroughs. The last significant advance came from LG Chem, with a lower-priced li-ion battery, which perhaps was the breakthru that Envia was trying for -- using a cathode with more NMC material, for higher energy density and better DoD (Depth of Discharge).

    More on Envia:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1089261_collapse-of-battery-startup-envia-what-really-happened

    But it may be that one of the tiny startups or university research groups will have the next true breakthru, since they're not focused on just improving existing technology.
     
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  12. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    Minah Lee and the infamous Yi Cui are in the news with a sodium battery. The intention is to avoid the "expensive" lithium for large scale storage of renewables. Of course, lithium isn't expensive enough to care about at this point, although eventually it might be.

    Keep in mind that this is university level research that won't enter production soon, if at all.
     
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  13. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

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  14. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    Toyota had a great experience with Supercapacitors using it in WEC LMP1 hybrid race cars, but gave up it after few seasons... Anyone who gets a battery that absorbs electric energy as fast as the capacitors and retains/store it for as long as the lithium battery does, will win the market challenge. The electric power distribution does not work on demand, i. e., there is a kind of leftover that is lost, there is no storage or buffering... thus, the charging time of the batteries influences, at general, the capacity of the public electric grid to support the increase of the number of EVs in specifics cities.
     
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  15. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    I don't know why they are bothering to tell us. There is no information that I can find of the performance of these batteries. There is no reason they have to tell us anything, but with no information it's best to ignore them.
     
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  16. Joao C. Correa

    Joao C. Correa New Member

    Normally this type of announcement is to value company shares in the stock exchange or to calm the shareholders regarding the search for innovations or the future of the company. It is certainly a piece of propaganda, but it does not mean that it is a false information... or a piece of counter industrial espionage... ;)
     
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  17. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    From the Japanese language source, they say they have double the energy capacity of today's lithium ion cells. Other reports say it can recharge in a few minutes, which would be game changing indeed.

    I know I'd prefer a figure for gravimetric density (how many kW can it hold per kilogram), but I expect it will be at least 350 wH/kg. That, with the fast charging, is pretty awesome and definitely game changing.
     
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  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I entirely agree. I don't know why anyone would single out this one claim for a battery breakthru, out of the dozens which pop up every year, and never lead anywhere.

    Just because it's Toyota making the claim doesn't mean we should ignore the need for the same high degree of skepticism that all such claims deserves. As WalksOnDirt suggests, there are no details in this claim which would lead us to think they're actually nearing mass production.
     
  19. WalksOnDirt

    WalksOnDirt Member

    (wH/kg? "H" is henry, "k" is kilo and "g" is gram, but what is "w"?)

    That is more than I could find, but it's still basically meaningless. Publicists often use 150 Wh/kg for comparison (stupid, but they do). The energy may be theoretical rather than actual, the comparison will use what ever is most favorable among energy density or specific energy, and what is a "few minutes"? Give me a C rating!
     
  20. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    You know, I knew that looked weird after I typed it, but skipped on to the next thing without thinking about it for a second. Of course that should be
    "Wh/kg."

    For those of you unfamiliar with this syntax, the W should be uppercase, because it stands for Watt, a unit of power named for James Watt.

    But yes, I too would like a C rating, though that is specifically for cell discharge. While it may also indicate charging speed, the two values aren't necessarily equal.
     
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