ORNL and Solid Power Sign Lithium-Sulfur Agreement

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Solid-state batteries are becoming the next big thing in energy storage, with the promise of low volatility, high energy density and lower-cost manufacturing.  With academia, industry and government collaborating on the next wave of development, we may see progress in this realm. Recently, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Solid Power Inc. of Louisville, Colo., signed an exclusive agreement licensing lithium-sulfur materials for next-generation batteries. A team of current and former ORNL researchers including Chengdu Liang, Nancy Dudney, Adam Rondinone, Jong Keum, Jane Howe, Wujun Fu, Ezhiylmurugan Rangasamy, Zhan Lin and Zengcai Liu developed the technology.  This included designing and testing an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery “with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies.”  It featured a …

ORNL Makes It Two for Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced that their researchers have built and demonstrated a high-voltage (5 V) lithium, solid-state battery with a usable life of more than 10,000 cycles, at the end which test the battery retains more that 90-percent of its original capacity.  That makes two such claims in a week, with ORNL’s battery comparable to that developed by Nanyang Technology University (NTU) and reported on in this blog last week. ORNL points out that, “For a given size of battery, the energy stored in a battery is proportional to its voltage. Conventional lithium-ion batteries use organic liquid electrolytes that have a maximum operating voltage of 4.3 V. Operating a battery above this limit causes short cycle life and …

“Double-Duty” Electrolyte Extends Battery Longevity

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Morgan McCorkle at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee reports that researchers there have developed a lithium-carbon fluoride battery with a thiophosphate electrolyte that generates 26 percent higher capacity than its theoretical maximum if all the components acted independently.  This serendipitous outcome causes researcher Chengdu Liang to say, “This bi-functional electrolyte revolutionizes the concept of conventional batteries and opens a new avenue for the design of batteries with unprecedented energy density.” We’ve become accustomed to thinking that a battery’s “three main components – the positive cathode, negative anode, and ion-conducting electrolyte – can play only one role in the device.” ORNL’s battery has a specially-developed solid electrolyte that functions as an ion conductor, and also serves as …

Longer Life and More Energy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Who wouldn’t want both?  Researchers in Germany and America are making great inroads on lithium battery energy density, while  adding some hope that batteries may someday outlast the vehicle in which they are installed. Ulm, Germany, where the Berblinger Competition encourages economical flight, may be a resource for making such flight possible.  The Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und WasserstoffForschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, ZSW), has announced what they claim to be world-beating cells in terms of cycle life. Dr. Margret Wohlfahrt-Mehrens, Head of the Accumulator Material Research Department in Ulm reports, “After 10,000 complete charging and discharging cycles with a complete charge and discharge cycle per hour (2 C), our lithium batteries still have more than …

Solid, Man! Electrolytes Go Granular

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Most liquid battery electrolytes that conduct ions between anode and cathode also carry with them a flammability problem, especially as chemists try to pack more power into smaller batteries.  Recent fires which have grounded all Boeing 787s in the world highlight the danger. The blog has noted before the dangers of overcharging lithium batteries and especially of leaving even model airplane sized packs lying about unattended during charging. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers claim to have demonstrated safety advantages with a nanoporous electrolyte, according to a January 23, 2013 release.  ORNL’s Chengdu Liang says, “To make a safer, lightweight battery, we need the design at the beginning to have safety in mind.  We started with a conventional material that is …