ORNL and Solid Power Sign Lithium-Sulfur Agreement

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 …

3D Printed Power Inverter Meets, Beats DOE 2020 Targets

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Reduced weight and component volumes are important for both cars and aircraft, allowing lighter overall construction and greater flexibility in fitting those components into compact spaces.  The U. S. Department of Energy has set 2020 targets for things like batteries and power inverters – the device that turns direct current from batteries into alternating current to run electric motors.  Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)used 3D printing and “novel silicon carbide (SiC) wide band gap (WBG) semiconductors to craft a prototype power inverter for electric vehicles that is lighter and can handle more power than current units.  It nearly meets the DOE’s power density and specific power targets and exceeds the efficiency target handily. Metric …

Lithium Sulfur Batteries – Energy Storage at New Heights

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Last year, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced that researchers had “successfully demonstrated that lithium-sulfur battery technology can indeed outdo lithium-ion on several fronts.”   Theoretically, lithium-sulfur batteries could be four times as energy dense as today’s lithium-ion batteries, but that promise had yet to be demonstrated.  ORNL took initial steps toward that goal, and within the last few months researchers at Vanderbilt University have shown a strong lead in forming lithium-sulfur batteries with commercial potential. Echoing work done at Sakti3, ORNL researchers demonstrated an all-solid-state lithium-sulfur cell, addressing flammability issues shared by batteries with solid electrolytes.  Using lithium polysulfidophosphates (LPSPs) in the cathode, and which have ionic conductivities eight times higher than that of lithium sulfide (Li2S) the team coupled …

Recycling Tires for Battery Anodes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Old tires are hard to get rid of, and left in small mountains in salvage yards, can self-incinerate, causing massive clouds of dangerous smoke and lakes of toxic goo. Fires can last for months, virtually unassailable by fire fighters. Some still structurally sound tires can be re-treaded and gain a new life on the road.  Others, well past their usable life, are shredded and added to an asphalt mix to have a new life as the road. They might also end up lithium-ion batteries.  According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by wind and solar, say researchers. By modifying the microstructural …

“Double-Duty” Electrolyte Extends Battery Longevity

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …

Competition Heats Up in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Founded in October 2010, NOHMs Technologies has developed a battery based on lithium-sulfur chemistry.  In April 2013, the company was awarded a $500,000 Phase II SBIR Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to scale a novel low-cost manufacturing process for long-life sulfur cathode composite materials.   NOHMs (Nano Organic Hybrid Materials) will locate to and use facilities at the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center and the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop Administration Building. NOHMs is developing electrode, electrolyte, and separator products as a 3-part solution for high-energy, low-cost, long-life, and safe batteries. NOHMs says its composite sulfur electrodes—carbon nanoparticles infused with sulfur developed at Cornell – can deliver a specific capacity of 550 mAh/g for hundreds of cycles. Next-generation cathode …

Transformative EV Range Expansion?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

In what may be eventual good news for future electric aviators, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $36 million to 22 projects to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs.  ARPA-E also uses the term, “revolutionary.” The series of awards is part of the RANGE program (Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems), intended “to enable a 3X increase in electric vehicle range (from ~80 to ~240 miles per charge) with a simultaneous price reduction of > 1/3 (to ~ $30,000). If successful, these vehicles will provide near cost and range parity to gasoline-powered ICE vehicles, ARPA-E said.” “Transformational” comes straight from the CAFE …