Interesting tech developments in nanotech, nanostructured materials, etc.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Monday, September 26, 2005
US Battery Research: Too Little, Too Late?: "The power gap between current needs and what batteries can deliver for electronics today reflects a decision made years ago to all but abandon basic battery research in favor of more flashy fuel-cell technology, says Donald Sadoway, a battery expert and professor of materials engineering at MIT .. "Fuel cells grabbed the money," but basic battery research was ignored for years before that as well, says Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group in San Jose. As a result, today's batteries remain relatively inefficient...
Interview with Sadoway: "I think that lithium ion can be pushed a little bit harder with electrode materials -- for the cathode in particular. There may be untapped capacity in certain materials that could dramatically improve the amount of energy storage in the battery by improving the cathode. I have cells operating at about 300 watts per kilogram, which is double what lithium ion is doing today. I think there's plenty of room at the top here ..
[The next big leap?] Solid-state batteries. We think the next improvement will come from eliminating any liquid from the battery. We think that there are opportunities for looking at multilayer thin-film laminate with no liquid, a polymer as the electrolyte separator. You're looking at something that's similar to a potato chip bag, a polymer web coated with a different layer of chemistry. We can make that by the square mile -- it's not difficult to do. We're talking about a doubling or tripling of the capacity of today's batteries, as opposed to a 20% or 30% improvement. [And it's safer.] A lot of the problems in advanced lithium ion batteries derive from the fact that you have an organic liquid. Lithium ion is not water-based. It's an organic liquid like an alcohol. It's flammable. If it gets hot, the pressure increases, and you'll break the case. It could catch fire. If we go with a polymer electrolyte, you don't have any liquid; it's inert when it comes to heat, plus you can shape it." 9:47:53 AM
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Toshiba announces better battery for 2006:
March 2005: "Toshiba Corporation today announced a breakthrough in lithium-ion batteries that .. can recharge 80% of a battery's energy capacity in only one minute, approximately 60 times faster than the typical lithium-ion batteries in wide use today, and combines this fast recharge time with improvements in energy density. .. the negative electrode uses new nano-particles to prevent organic liquid electrolytes from reducing during battery recharging. The nano-particles quickly absorb and store vast amount of lithium ions, without causing any deterioration in the electrode. ..
The battery has a long life cycle, losing only 1% of capacity after 1,000 cycles of discharging and recharging, and can operate at very low temperatures. At minus 40 degrees centigrade, the battery can discharge 80% of its capacity, against 100% in an ambient temperature of 25 degree centigrade).
Toshiba will bring the new rechargeable battery to commercial products in 2006. Initial applications will be in the automotive and industrial sectors .. tTe battery's advantages in size, weight and safety highly suit it for a role as an alternative power source for hybrid electric vehicles." This is faster than expected; nano particles to accelerate charge and discharge and improve density have been reported in universities, while this is an announced product. 11:05:26 AM