Calling All Battery Innovators!

Canada is looking for its next big battery breakthrough!

Charging the Future Challenge is a new $4.5-million project which aims to accelerate made-in-Canada battery innovation in order to build a clean energy future and provide economic growth within Canada.
The 18-month challenge will offer five finalists the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury for a chance to win up to $700,000 each to develop battery prototypes, with the winner receiving a $1 million grand prize.

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Venkataraman Thangadurai, University of Calgary chemistry professor and associate head.

University of Calgary Chemistry Professor Venkataraman Thangadurai’s background in solid-state batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, proton conducting SOFCs, and gas sensors have made him a source for information over the years. Because of this, the longtime ECS and battery division member has been invited to present several presentations this spring.

International Battery Event

This March,  Thangadurai will speak at the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The annual event showcases state of the art energy storage technology developments for consumer, automotive, military, and industrial applications, as well as offer attendees insights from guest speakers sharing their thoughts on significant material advancements, product development, manufacturing, and application of battery systems and enabling technologies.

ECS Biannual Meetings

Similar to the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit, ECS hosts biannual meetings on a broader scale, including a diverse number of topics in the electrochemical, solid state science, and technology field, of which Thangadurai has been a recurring speaker of.

In 2018, he attended AiMES as an invited guest speaker presenting his work, “Chemical and Electrochemical Stability of Fast Lithium Ion Conducting Garnet-Type Metal Oxides in H2o, Aqueous Solution, CO2, Li and S,” available in ECS Meeting Abstracts.

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Chuanfang (John) Zhang, Valeria Nicolosi, and Sang-Hoon Park. Credit: Naoise Culhane

Have you ever wished you could increase your cellphone battery life? Well, that technology may very well already be here.

Researchers from AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering, at Trinity College Dublin, have announced the development of a new material which offers the potential to improve battery life in everyday electronics, like smartphones, according to Irish Tech News.

The discovery could mean that the average phone battery life, roughly 10 hours of talk time, could increase to 30-40 hours.

MXenes, an ink-based nanomaterial, not only significantly improves battery life, but it also offers its batteries the flexibility to become smaller in size, without losing performance. (more…)

Kang Xu on Fluorinating Interphases

Kang Xu, lead author.

“What is the most ideal [solid-electrolyte interphase] SEI or interphase that would enable the next generation of the battery chemistries?”

It was a question that had been lingering in the minds of Kang Xu, fellow of US Army Research Laboratory and team leader; Chunsheng Wang, University of Maryland chemical and biomolecular engineering department professor, as well as one of the most cited researchers of 2018; and Ying Shirley Meng, University of California, San Diego nanoengineering professor, fellow of The Electrochemical Society, and associate director of the International Battery Association.

Together, the trio set out to pursue this question, resulting in the publication of their paper “Perspective—Fluorinating Interphases.” (more…)

It’s winter. And with that comes heavy coats, icy winds, and occasionally, below freezing temperatures: conditions not favorable for batteries.

Car batteries

Temperature extremes, in general, are not favorable to batteries. According to Lifewire, lead-acid batteries drop in capacity by about 20 percent in normal to freezing weather, and down to about 50 percent in temperatures that reach about -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a result, you may find your car battery giving out on any given winter morning. This is due to reduced capacity and increased draw from starter motors and accessories. This is because starter motors require a tremendous amount of amperage to get going: knocking out the capacity of even the newest batteries. (more…)

Let’s face it. Anyone can benefit from a boost in their cell phone’s battery life, with the use of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the daily connectedness of email, texting, FaceTime, and selfies, it’s a surprise if our cell phone batteries last a day—which most often they don’t. Cut to, Apple’s newly released smart battery case that extends the life of their latest iPhones: the XS and XR. (more…)

Magnesium Batteries: New Discovery

University of Houston researchers Yan Yao, left, Hui Dong and Yanliang Leonard Liang. Photo Credit: University of Houston

A new version of high-energy magnesium batteries has been discovered by researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America, according to Phys.org. The battery operates with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, allowing it to store and discharge much more energy than earlier magnesium batteries.

Yan Yao, an ECS member, UH Student Chapter faculty advisor, and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH, said the researchers identified chloride—in the commonly used electrolyte—as a contributor to magnesium batteries’ sluggish performance.

Yao, a principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, used the chloride-free electrolyte to test organic quinone polymer cathodes with a magnesium metal anode; the battery remaining stable through 2,500 cycles.

Magnesium batteries are particularly exciting as magnesium itself offers far more natural advantages over lithium. (more…)

Holiday Warning: Deadly Batteries

With the holidays fast approaching, you may find yourself purchasing toys and gifts for some little ones. As you do, it’s important to keep some safety tips in mind. The National Capital Poison Center recently reported an increasing number of fatal button batteries ingestions over the years.

These coin-sized batteries have the potential to cause severe esophageal or airway burns when stuck in the esophagus, even after no initial signs of irritation directly after ingestion. Batteries stuck, including in the nose and ears, for over 2 hours can cause burns and serious complications.

Most commonly nickel-sized button batteries are the most hazardous as their size can allow them to become lodged in the throat and burn faster as a result.

However, there are measures that gift-givers and parents can take.

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Honda’s Battery Breakthrough

The search for the next level, new, and improved electric vehicle battery is an ongoing one. And it’s one Honda may have found. According to The Drive, the Japanese automaker claims to have developed a new battery chemistry called fluoride-ion that could outperform current lithium-ion batteries.

Honda says fluoride-ion batteries offer 10 times greater energy density, meaning more storage and range for electric vehicles, thanks to the low atomic weight of fluorine that makes fluoride-ion batteries’ increased performance possible. (more…)

Bentley Gives EVs the Red Light

High-end, high-class, and high-cost are all words synonymous with the word Bentley. The luxury car CEO Adrian Hallmark says he plans to keep it that way, and for that reason, he’s giving the inclusion of electric vehicles to the Bentley family the red light—for now.

Hallmark says battery technology has not evolved to the point where it would be possible to develop an ultraluxury electric vehicles, according to Tires and Parts. (more…)

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