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 …

Solid State Electrolyte – a Safer, More Powerful Alternative

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Making batteries smaller, lighter, and more powerful is an ongoing trend, supposedly climbing at eight percent per year in terms of energy density (energy stored per unit of weight).  Even this blog is guilty of sometimes unrequited enthusiasm for some new developments that appear to be an “answer” for aircraft use. Getting a battery that double or quintuples energy density would be ideal for aircraft, but seems to be a labor worthy of Sisyphus (you could look it up).  As constantly noted here, batteries have three major components, the anode, or negative electrode; the cathode, or positive electrode; and the electrolyte, usually a liquid that allows the flow of ions between electrodes.  That electrolyte is subject to overheating and on …

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

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …

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 …

2X Solid State Batteries?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Applied Materials, located in Sunnyvale, California, designs and makes equipment used in the manufacture of computer chips and other miniature electronic devices.  Your editor worked there on assignment from his engineering firm for six months 15 years ago, documenting and verifying the equipment and control systems for their newest facility.  Even then, miniature was wild understatement, with the company crafting machinery that could produce 0.18 µm lines in silicon chips.  In the last two decades, line widths have shrunk to 0.03 µm, and the number of elements on chips has increased proportionally.  This makes nano manufacturing a highly precise endeavor, and one which seems to defy credulity with lower costs for the ever-increasing number of chips being made. It’s this …

Three Candidates for the Coming “Magic Rush” of Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Robert Cringely, writing in EVWorld.com foresees a paradigm-shifting event that will happen sooner rather than later.  “A black swan is what we call an unexpected technical innovation that disrupts existing markets. Intrinsic to the whole black swan concept is that you can’t predict them: they come when they come.  Only today I think I’ll predict a black swan, thank you, and explain exactly how the automobile business is about to be disrupted. I think we’re about two years away from a total disruption of the automobile business by electric cars.” He quotes the respected auto journalist Robert Cumberford.  “’I see the acceptance of electric cars happening in a sudden rush. Maybe not this year, maybe not for a couple of …