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…)

30 Under 30 in Energy

Perk up people, this is the Forbes list 30 under 30 in energy edition. According to Forbes, each year their reporters spend months combing through possible contestants. Questionnaires, online digging, contact recommendations, and a panel of expert judges all help sift through to the top remaining candidates.

This year, Forbes focused on the movers and shakers of the battery field. With a worldwide $200 billion a year investment in wind and solar power generation projects, the revolution in renewables, and the transition to low-carbon energy sources is undeniable. And for that reason, we highlight three—just the tip of the iceburg—from the top thirty list.

Meghana Bollimpalli

Meghana Bollimpalli/Credit: Forbes

I don’t know what you were doing when you were 17, but Meghana Bollimpalli, a student at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas was inspired by a seminar on energy storage. Bollimpalli began working towards figuring out a way to make supercapacitors from cheaper materials. She discovered a mixture of tea powder, molasses, and tannin, with a pinch of phosphorous and nitrogen, could achieve the same performance as a platinum-based electrode, for just $1 each, taking home the 2018 Intel Foundation Young Scientist award. Not bad for a high school student. (more…)

Have you ever picked up your cell, looked at the battery life, and go, “But I just charged this thing. What gives?” It’s not just you. According to The Washington Post, the smartphones battery life is getting worse. And, chances are, you’re new and upgraded 2018 smartphone’s battery life is actually worse than older models.

Phone makers have claimed to have tackled this battle by including more-efficient processors, low-power modes, and artificial intelligence to manage app drain, but it’s no secret to the battery industry that the lithium-ion batteries in smartphones have hit a plateau.

So, what gives? According to Nadim Maluf, CEO of a firm that optimizes batteries called Qnovos, batteries improve at a very slow pace, about 5 percent per year. (more…)

BatteryA collaborative team of researchers from Shinshu University in Japan have found a new way to curb some of the potential dangers posed by lithium ion batteries.

The team was led by Susumu Arai, a professor of the department of materials chemistry and head of Division for Application of Carbon Materials at the Institute of Carbon Science and Technology at Shinshu University.

These batteries, typically used in electric vehicles and smart grids, could help society realize a low-carbon future, according the authors. The problem is that while lithium could theoretically conduct electricity at high capacity, lithium also results in what is known as thermal runaway during the charge and discharge cycle.

“Lithium metal is inherently unsuitable for use in rechargeable batteries due to posing certain safety risks,” said Arai. “Repeated lithium deposition/dissolution during charge/discharge can cause serious accidents due to the deposition of lithium dendrites that penetrate the separator and induce internal short-circuiting.”

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A new bendable lithium-ion battery prototype continues delivering electricity even when cut into pieces, submerged in water, or struck with force.

“We are very encouraged by the feedback we are receiving,” says Jeffrey P. Maranchi, manager of the materials science program at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “We are not that far away from testing in the field.”

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BatteryA novel compound called 3Q conducts electricity and retains energy better than other organic materials currently used in batteries, researchers report.

“Our study provides evidence that 3Q, and organic molecules of similar structures, in combination with graphene, are promising candidates for the development of eco-friendly, high capacity rechargeable batteries with long life cycles,” says Loh Kian Ping, professor in the chemistry department at NUS Faculty of Science.

Rechargeable batteries are the key energy storage component in many large-scale battery systems like electric vehicles and smart renewable energy grids. With the growing demand of these battery systems, researchers are turning to more sustainable, environmentally friendly methods of producing them. One option is to use organic materials as an electrode in the rechargeable battery.

Organic electrodes leave lower environment footprints during production and disposal which offers a more eco-friendly alternative to inorganic metal oxide electrodes commonly used in rechargeable batteries.

The structures of organic electrodes can also be engineered to support high energy storage capabilities. The challenge, however, is the poor electrical conductivity and stability of organic compounds when used in batteries. Organic materials currently used as electrodes in rechargeable batteries—such as conductive polymers and organosulfer compounds—also face rapid loss in energy after multiple charges.

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Unpiloted underwater vehicles (UUVs) are used for a wide array of tasks, including exploring ship wreckage, mapping the ocean floor, and military applications. Now, a team from MIT has developed an aluminum-water power system that will allow UUVs to become safer, more durable, and have ten times more range compared to UUVs powered by lithium-ion batteries.

“Everything people want to do underwater should get a lot easier,” says Ian Salmon Mckay, co-inventor of the device. “We’re off to conquer the oceans.”

The aluminum-water power system is a direct response to lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited energy density causing service ships to chaperone UUVs while at sea, recharging the batteries when necessary. Additionally, UUV lithium-ion batteries have to be encased in expensive metal pressure vessels, making the battery both short-lived and pricey for use in UUVs.

This from MIT:

In contrast, [Open Water Power’s] power system is safer, cheaper, and longer-lasting. It consists of a alloyed aluminum, a cathode alloyed with a combination of elements (primarily nickel), and an alkaline electrolyte that’s positioned between the electrodes.

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John Goodenough may be 94-years old, but he shows no sign of slowing down. Now, the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could result in safer, longer-lasting batteries for everything from electric cars to grid energy storage.

“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” Goodenough says in a statement. “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.”

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The Search for a Super Battery

From electric vehicles to grid storage for renewables, batteries are key components in many of tomorrow’s innovations. But current commercialized batteries face problems of price, efficiency, safety, and life-cycle. The television series, NOVA, is exploring many of those issues in the upcoming episode, “Search for the Super Battery.”

A preview of the episode by CBS News explores two innovators who are working toward the next big thing in battery technology.

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Battery Research for Higher Voltages

BatteryLithium-ion batteries supply billions of portable devices with energy. While current Li-ion battery designs may be sufficient for applications such as smartphones and tablets, the rise of electric vehicles and power storage systems demands new battery technology with new electrode materials and electrolytes.

ECS student member Michael Metzger is looking to address that issue by developing a new battery test cell that can investigate anionic and cationic reactions separately.

Along with Benjamin Strehle, Sophie Slochenbach, and ECS Fellow Hubert A. Gasteiger, Metzger and company published their new findings in the Journal of The Elechemical Society in two open access papers.

(READ: “Origin of H2 Evolution in LIBs: H2O Reduction vs. Electrolyte Oxidation” and “Hydrolysis of Ethylene Carbonate with Water and Hydroxide under Battery Operating Conditions“)

“Manufacturers of rechargeable batteries are building on the proven lithium-ion technology, which has been deployed in mobile devices like laptops and cell phones for many years,” says Metzger, the 2016 recipient of ECS’s Herbert H. Uhlig Summer Fellowship. “However, the challenge of adapting this technology to the demands of electromobility and stationary electric power storage is not trivial.”

(more…)

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