Amprius, Airbus, Silicon and Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Batteries are a tough study.  We see many different roads being traveled in attempts to reach the Nirvana of the lightest, most powerful energy storage cell ever.  We see continuing shortfalls because of the much chemistries that seem never to work out as hoped.  Several recent articles, though, showed links that forced your editor into a deep study of battery developments first heard about a decade ago.  These involved Yi Cui, Stanford professor and battery guru, silicon electrodes, and a new electrolyte that holds thing together.    Presaging recent developments, your editor first heard Yi Cui present at the 2009 CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium.  Then, he predicted, based on the theoretical limits for silicon-based electrodes in batteries, that we would …

Amprius’ Silicon Nanowire Batteries Fly – For 25 Days

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Sunnyvale, California-based Amprius kept a low profile for several years, despite its founder, Yi Cui, being a leading light in battery development.  Their December 4th press release, though, finds the company to be in a more open mood, their advanced lithium-ion cells with 100-percent silicon anodes having flown Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) for over 25 days, “setting a new endurance and altitude record for stratospheric flight.” This milestone represents a great leap forward since Alan Cocconi flew his So Long solar-powered model for 48 hours, the first of many projects of which he would be an integral part, and the first solar airplane to fly overnight.  He worked on the General Motors EV1 and Eric Raymond’s Sunseeker …

Dr. Yi Cui’s Latest, a Solid-state Electrolyte

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Green Car Congress reports that, “Stanford researchers led by Professor Yi Cui have used ceramic nanowire fillers to enhance the ionic conductivity of polymer-based solid electrolyte by three orders of magnitude. The ceramic-nanowire filled composite polymer electrolyte also shows an enlarged electrochemical stability window.” With solid-state batteries coming to the fore through efforts by Ann Marie Sastry at Sakti 3 and Qichao Hu at Solid Energy Systems, an improved solid electrolyte would seem to offer greater battery safety and stability “when compared with conventional liquid electrolytes. The abstract for the Stanford researchers’ paper in the journal ACS Nano Letters explains that “Currently, the low mobility of lithium ions in solid electrolytes limits their practical application. The ongoing research over the past few …

A Milestone on the Road to Dr. Cui’s 10X Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seeing the Amprius web site, one would never know that some “dramatic improvements” promised in the terse announcement might mean so much in terms of true breakthroughs. Neatly centered, Amprius’ total web site is a few  lines of discrete text. Amprius is a leading Lithium-Ion battery developer Amprius’s silicon technology was originally developed at Stanford University and enables dramatic improvements in the energy density and specific energy of Lithium-Ion batteries. Amprius is backed by some of the world’s leading investors, including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Venture Partners, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Dr. Eric Schmidt. Amprius, Inc., 225 Humboldt Ct. Sunnyvale, CA 94089 But the battery manufacturer has two first-generation product offerings with volumetric energy densities of 580 …