Tech Features

Impregnating motors with thermal management materials to reduce hot spots

A doctoral candidate plucks a thermal management material out of LORD Corporation’s voluminous catalog, and one Ph.D. later, the EV world may have an exciting new boon for the efficiency of electric motors. Anyone working within the corporate world has probably been battered with the word “synergy” to the point of it being rendered meaningless…. Read more »

A closer look at how batteries fail

A lot of research has been done to improve lithium-ion battery safety, cycle life and power output over a range of high and low temperatures, yet understanding the fundamental processes and degradation mechanisms in Li-ion batteries remains a challenge. To understand the degradation processes of lithium-ion batteries, it is important to understand how they operate…. Read more »

Phinergy CEO on aluminum-air batteries and 1,000-mile range-extended EVs

Along with its industry giant partner Alcoa, Israeli startup Phinergy says it has aluminum-air batteries for EVs in the can. More than 550 feet over the National Mall in Washington, DC, the single most significant piece of American aluminum triangulates a point between the White House, the US Capitol, and the Lincoln Memorial. It is… Read more »

A closer look at the semiconductor switch

In this article I’ll be giving an overview of that most important of power electronics components: the semiconductor switch. I’ll first address what a switch is, and then delve into some of the more important compromises and shortcomings that exist in real-world switches that engineers must contend with when designing chargers, motor controllers, DC-DC converters… Read more »

Wildcat’s new copper fluoride cathode material offers 2.5x more capacity than today’s battery tech

The current generation of lithium-ion battery materials is quickly approaching its theoretical limit. In commercial layered oxide cathodes, like the popular nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), there is only one lithium ion for every metal. So, the most energy you could possibly store with those materials is one full lithium in and out, or about 300 mAh per… Read more »

The battery industry insiders: Q&A with the Bitrode Corporation

In many ways, the Bitrode Corporation has the ultimate inside scoop on the battery industry. Along with its parent company, Sovema, and sister division, Solith, the group has its hands all over battery development, manufacturing and testing. The companies supply equipment and support to many of the biggest names in automotive-grade battery manufacturing. Acquired by… Read more »

Silicon rally: EnerG2’s new silicon battery anode material

It seems that every time the hottest new smartphone or tablet comes out, one of the biggest points of contention among users is its battery life. The demands put on the batteries run them down faster than users would like, and the OEMs can’t simply increase the batteries’ size while still hitting their targets for… Read more »

Quantifying battery risks and thermal safety

Exponent engineers on battery risks and thermal safety: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Any type of energy storage technology has some risk associated with the unanticipated release of stored energy. Failure of a pumped-hydro storage system, for example, can lead to flooding. Hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline, diesel or methane can ignite into flames…. Read more »

Porous Power’s new microporous membrane will boost Li-ion battery performance

Q&A with Bernard Perry of Porous Power Technologies. In 2006, Porous Power Technologies was formed around a new microporous membrane material designed specifically for use as a lithium-ion battery separator. At that time, most battery separator materials were originally intended for other applications and adapted when the lithium-ion market began to develop. The company’s founders saw an… Read more »

NETZSCH scales up battery testing

When a battery technology firm develops a new material, typically the first step is to test its performance in a small-format battery package known as a coin cell. Coin cells are used directly in many consumer products, but they also serve as a stepping stone in large-battery research and development. Engineers begin the R&D process… Read more »