The Tech

Report: sharp growth for battery materials market, driven by EV industry

Dallas, Texas market research and consulting company MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global battery materials market will be worth $11.3 billion by 2018. In 2012, its value was $5.1 billion, and the firm estimates a 13 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018. They expect electric vehicles to be the key revenue generators for… Read more »

New microscopy technique gives researchers a better look inside batteries

Electricity may seem invisible, but storing it in batteries has some very physical effects. As a battery is charged and discharged, electrons and ions rush around from place to place, sometimes causing electrodes to change their shapes over time. As researchers experiment with improved electrode materials, it’s critical to get a microscopic view of what… Read more »

The most interesting part of the 2014 Cadillac ELR is the software

We often hear automotive engineers talk about the need for a better understanding of the components of an EV. Some have said that there is an inherent inefficiency in many systems because the parts – like the battery cells, motors and inverters – have historically been developed independently of each other and then integrated together…. Read more »

Berkeley Lab researchers get to the root of the lithium anode problem

In the quest for higher energy density, the use of lithium metal anodes would seem to be a promising approach, if it weren’t for those doggone dendrites. Dendrites are microscopic fibers of lithium, which sprout, tree-like, from the surface of the lithium electrode and spread through the electrolyte until they reach the other electrode, possibly… Read more »

Maxwell and SK to jointly develop ultracap/battery combo

Ultracapacitors (aka ultracaps or supercapacitors) are the toast of the town, thanks to their rapid charge and discharge capabilities, tolerance of extreme temperature conditions and long operational life. However, their killer application may be as partners with lithium-ion batteries, which offer higher energy density. Maxwell Technologies (Nasdaq: MXWL), a manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage products,… Read more »

Protean and VW Chinese joint venture partner to produce new electric drivetrain

In-wheel motor developer Protean Electric is partnering with FAW-Volkswagen in China to develop a new electric propulsion system. FAW-VW will create a new rear-wheel drivetrain for an EV based on the new Bora compact sedan, using two Protean in-wheel motors. “This is a two-phase project that will capitalize on the torque and packaging freedoms that… Read more »

New film-type battery cells are flexible and energy-dense

Sekisui Chemical has developed a film-type lithium-ion battery that incorporates several promising innovations. It features a silicon anode, and uses the company’s original materials technology to enable the application of the gel-type electrolytes using a coating process instead of the standard vacuum infusion process. According to the company, the flexible film-type cells can be installed… Read more »

Envia bungles battery breakthrough as former CEO sues and GM jumps ship

Back in 2012, battery startup Envia was the toast of Silicon Valley. Its innovative battery technology had achieved the highest energy density ever recorded for a lithium-ion cell – a breakthrough that could halve the costs of EV batteries – and the company already had a deal to supply cells to GM. Today, the company… Read more »

Graphene supercapacitor packs basketball court-size surface area into one gram

Supercapacitors (aka ultracapacitors or ultracaps) represent one of the most exciting technologies in the EV world today. Because of their superior charge/discharge rates and long cycle life, they could make great companions to lithium-ion batteries, which offer higher energy density. Some brave souls predict that they could someday replace batteries altogether in some applications. Now… Read more »