EAS IX:  Materials Design for Battery Breakthroughs

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Yi Cui’s presentation title ended with, “from Fundamental Science to Commercialization,” an indication of the long, tough road that new developments are forced to take.  Considering that Sony introduced the Lithium battery as a commercial entity in 1991 (and that following at least an 18-year slog from laboratory to mass production), mostly incremental changes have come for the chemistry, echoing Dr. Cui’s pronouncement at EAS III that lithium batteries followed a “growth curve” of about eight percent per year, meaning that about every nine years, they should double in performance. Cui’s estimate has been borne out in reality, Nature magazine reporting in 2014, “Modern Li-ion batteries hold more than twice as much energy by weight as the first commercial …

Lithium Gets a Good Wrap

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Shadi Dayeh, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, has been designing new electrode architectures that could solve one of lithium batteries’ biggest problems.  When lithium diffuses across the surface of a lithium-ion battery electrode, it causes the electrode to expand and contract depending on its charging or discharging.  This eventually leads to cracking and ultimate disintegration of the anode or cathode – weakening and finally disabling the battery. Dayeh, working with colleagues at the University and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, came up with nanowires that, “Block diffusion of lithium (Li) across their silicon surface and promote layer-by-layer axial lithiation of the nanowire’s germanium core.” Seeing possibilities …

Hope or Patience? Ennui or Exuberance?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

EV-World.com first stymied this editor’s hopes, and then gave cause to hope at an elevated level.  Two articles in jousting juxtaposition explored this dichotomy. Anthony Ingram took a jaundiced view of present battery progress and the hopes for a more energy-dense future. He noted that, “There’s kind of a running joke within the electric car world that the next generation of batteries is just a decade away. And the next time you ask, it’s still a decade away. Even a decade later. “Well, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the next generation of usable battery technology is – wait for it – around ten years away.” He explains that today’s EVs are running on ten-year-old technology, and that the …