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The Tech

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 »

Dow sells battery-making division Dow Kokam

Industrial giant Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) has sold its interest in battery manufacturer Dow Kokam to MBP Investors LLC, an affiliate of Townsend Ventures. Dow Kokam makes large-format nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion cells and systems for the fleet transportation, stationary storage and industrial markets. The company’s Midland Battery Park in Michigan includes one of… Read more »

Researchers demonstrate major advance in lithium-sulfur battery chemistry

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a lithium-sulfur (Li/S) battery that has more than twice the specific energy of current lithium-ion batteries, and that lasts for more than 1,500 charge/discharge cycles with minimal capacity loss. This is the longest cycle life yet reported for any lithium-sulfur battery. The results were reported in the… Read more »

Scientists invent self-healing battery electrode

Researchers from Stanford University and the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a battery electrode that heals itself, a very useful trick indeed. “Self-healing is very important for the survival and long lifetimes of animals and plants,” said Chao Wang, one of two principal authors of the paper, which appeared in the latest issue… Read more »