The Fuel Tank of Tomorrow – A Super Capacitor? +YouTube Video

KiloWatt Labs CEO Omer Ghani explains in the above interview, filmed at the IDTechEX Show!, that his company has overcome these challenges and has begun shipping large-scale, super capacitor-based energy storage solutions for applications such as microgrid, renewable, utility and mobility. He indicates their solution is a cost-competitive replacement for traditional battery approaches,

Read more at:…


NREL Charges Forward to Reduce Time at EV Stations

Shortening recharge times may diminish range anxiety, increase EV market viability, however Speeding up battery charging will be crucial to improving the convenience of owning and driving an electric vehicle (EV). 

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and industry stakeholders to identify the technical, infrastructure, and economic requirements for establishing a national extreme fast charging (XFC) network.

Today’s high power EV charging stations take 20 minutes or more to provide a fraction of the driving range car owners get from 10 minutes at the gasoline pump. 

Porsche is leading the industry with the deployment of two XFC 350kW EV charging stations in Europe that will begin to approach the refueling time of gasoline vehicles. Photo courtesy of Porsche.

Drivers can pump enough gasoline in 10 minutes to carry them a few hundred miles. Most of today’s fast charging stations take 20 minutes to provide 50-70 miles of electric driving range. 

A series of articles in the current edition of the Journal of Power Sources summarizes the NREL team’s findings on how battery, vehicle, infrastructure, and economic factors impact XFC feasibility.

“You can charge an EV today at one of 44,000 stations across the country, but if you can’t leave your car plugged in for a few hours, you may only get enough juice to travel across town a few times,” says NREL Senior Engineer and XFC Project Lead Matthew Keyser

“We’re working to match the time, cost, and distance that generations of drivers have come to expect—with the additional benefits of clean, energy-saving technology.”

While XFC can help overcome real (and perceived) EV driving range limitations, the technology also introduces a series of new challenges. More rapid and powerful charging generates higher temperatures, which can lead to battery degradation and safety issues. 

Power electronics found in commercially available EVs are built for slower overnight charging and may not be able to withstand the stresses of higher voltage battery systems which are expected for higher power charging systems. XFC’s extreme, intermittent demands for electricity could also pose challenges to grid stability.

The XFC research team is exploring solutions for these issues, examining factors related to vehicle technology, gaps in existing technology, new demands on system design, and additional thermal management requirements. Researchers are also looking beyond vehicle systems to consider equipment and station design and potential impact on the grid.

NREL’s intercity travel analysis revealed that recharge times comparable to the time it takes to pump gas will require charge rates of at least 400 kW. 

Current DC Fast Charging rates are limited to 50-120 kW, and most public charging stations are limited to 7kW. 

XFC researchers have concluded that this will necessitate increases in battery charging density and new designs to minimize potential related increases in component size, weight, and cost. 

It appears that a more innovative battery thermal management system will be needed if XFC is to become a reality, and new strategies and materials will be needed to improve battery cell and pack cooling, as well as the thermal efficiency of cathodes and anodes.

“Yes, this substantial increase in charging rate will create new technical issues, but they are far from insurmountable—now that we’ve identified them,” says NREL Engineer Andrew Meintz.

Development of a network of XFC stations will depend on cost, market demand, and management of intermittent power demands. 
The team’s research revealed a need for more extensive analysis of potential station siting, travel patterns, grid resources, and business cases. 

At the same time, it is clear that any XFC network will call for new infrastructure technology and operational practices, along with cooperation and standardization across utilities, station operators, and manufacturers of charging systems and EVs.

These studies provide an initial framework for effectively establishing XFC technology. The initiative has attracted keen interest from industry members, who realize that faster charging will ultimately lead to wider market adoption of EV technologies.

This research is supported by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office. Learn more about NREL’s energy storage and EV grid integration research.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Nanosheets Make Batteries Better: New method may be the next step for high performance lithium-ion batteries.

Graphene Sheets 20170627-ASTAR-lithium-343yoafotmqoi1thc5hj40

Lithium-ion batteries are used to power many things from mobile phones, laptops, tablets to electric cars. But they have some drawbacks, including limited energy storage capacity, low durability and long charging time.

Now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have developed a way of producing more durable and longer lasting lithium-ion batteries. This finding was reported in Advanced Materials. Led by IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying, the researchers invented a generalized method of producing anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. The anodes are made from metal oxide nanosheets, which are ultrathin, two-dimensional materials with excellent electrochemical and mechanical properties.

These nanosheets are 50,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper, allowing faster charging of power compared to current battery technology. The wide surface area of the nanosheets makes better contact with the electrolyte, thus increasing the storage capacity. The material used is also highly durable and does not break easily, which improves the battery shelf life. Existing methods of making metal oxide nanosheets are time-consuming and difficult to scale up.

The IBN researchers came up with a simpler and faster way to synthesize metal oxide nanosheets using graphene oxide. Graphene oxide is a 2D carbon material with chemical reactivity that facilities the growth of metal oxides on its surface. Graphene oxide was used as the template to grow metal oxides into nanosheet structures via a simple mixing process, followed by heat treatment. The researchers were able to synthesize a wide variety of metal oxides as nanosheets, with control over the composition and properties. The new technique produces the nanosheets in one day, compared to one week for previously reported methods.

It does not require the use of a pressure chamber and involves only two steps in the synthesis process, making the nanosheets easy to manufacture on a large scale. Tests showed that the nanosheets produced using this generalized approach have excellent lithium-ion battery anode performance, with some materials lasting three times longer than graphite anodes used in current batteries. “Our nanosheets have shown great promise for use as lithium-ion anodes.

This new method could be the next step toward the development of metal oxide nanosheets for high performance lithium-ion batteries. It can also be used to advance other applications in energy storage, catalysis and sensors,” said Ying.

The article can be found at: AbdelHamid et al. (2017) Generalized Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanosheets and Their Application as Li-Ion Battery Anodes. ——— Source: A*STAR.

Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at:


UNIST researchers introduce novel catalyst for rechargeable metal-air batteries

UNIST Air Battery 154245_web


Research in lithium-ion batteries has opened up a plethora of possibilities in the development of next-generation batteries. In particular, the metal-air batteries with significantly greater energy density close to that of gasoline per kilogram, has recently been acknowledged and invested by world’s leading companies, like IBM.

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has presented novel catalyst to accelerate the commercialization of metal-air batteries. This breakthrough has been jointly led by Professor Guntae Kim and Professor Jaephil Cho in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST in collaboration with Professor Yunfei Bu from Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China. Their new catalyst possesses the structure of nanofiber-based perovskite materials and exhibits excellent electrochemical performance, close that of today’s precious metal catalysts, yet still inexpensive.

A metal-air battery is a type of fuel cell or battery that uses the oxidation of a metal with oxygen from atmospheric air to produce electricity. It is equipped with an anode made up of pure metals–like lithium or zinc–and an air cathode that is connected to an inexhaustible source of air. The catalysts in the air cathode aids the electrochemical reaction of the cell with oxygen gas. Metal-air batteries have attracted significant research attention as the new generation of high-performance batteries as they the advantages of (1) simple structure, (2) extremely high energy density, and (3) a relatively inexpensive production.

The currently existing metal-air batteries use rare and expensive metal catalysts for their air electrodes, such as platinum (Pt) and iridium oxide (IrO?). This has hindered its further commercialization into the marketplace.

In the study, Professor Kim and his research team have developed a new catalyst, using the cation ordered double perovskite with high electrical conductivity and catalyic performance. They prepared a series of PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co2-xFexO5+δ (x = 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2, PBSCF) and determined the optimum cobalt (Co) and iron (Fe) contents through electrochemical evaluation.

“The structure of mesoporous PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co2-xFexO5+δ nanofiber (PBSCF-NF) has high surface areas, result from uniform pore diameters,” says Ohhun Gwon in the Combined M.S/Ph.D. of Energy and Chemical Engineering, the first author of the study. “This nanofiber has also brought significant improvements in the performance of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER).”

According to the research team, this nanofiber has improved the bi-functionality of ORR/OER. Particularly, the OER performance was about 9 times higher than that of state-of-the-art precious metal oxide IrO2 at overpotential of 0.3 V. Furthermore, it also demonstrated notable charge-discharge stability even at high current density in Zn-air batteries.

“We envision that the high electrochemical and catalytic performance of this material will play a major role in the commercialization of metal-air batteries,” says Professor Kim. “Metal-air battery technology is still in its infancy and extensive additional research efforts appear to be required before a viable commercial implementation is developed.”

He adds, “However, as many global corporates, such as IBM, Toyota, and Samsung Electronics are already working on the development of metal-air batteries, the technical challenges could soon be cleared out in a much faster pace than anticipated.”


The findings of the research have been published online in the October issue of the prestigious journal ACS Nano. This study has been supported by the Mid-Career Researcher Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and 2017 Research Fund of UNIST.

Journal Reference

Yunfei Bu, et. al., “A Highly Efficient and Robust Cation Ordered Perovskite Oxides as a Bi-Functional Catalyst for Rechargeable Zinc-Air Batteries”, ACS Nano, (2017).

China’s Electric Vehicle Revolution: Video

China EV Boom 3 f8bc126d980d16f46a1506

China’s electric car production grows three-fold in May

Beijing’s announcement that it is considering banning gasoline and diesel cars from its smog clogged roads promises to accelerate a push toward electric vehicles — a race in which Chinese car makers have everything to gain.


NREL Reports: Plug-In EV’s and the ‘Charging Infrastructure’ Needed to Support Them

How much vehicle charging infrastructure is needed in the United States to support broader adoption scenarios for various types of plug-in electric vehicles?


A new report by NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy takes a look, providing guidance to public and private stakeholders seeking a nationwide network of non-residential (public and workplace) vehicle charging infrastructure.

See the full report at:



Watch the Video and Watch for Our First Commercial Product Launch: Coming Soon!

Super Capacitor Assisted Silicon Nanowire Batteries for EV and Small Form Factor Markets. A New Class of Battery /Energy Storage Materials is being developed to support the High Energy – High Capacity – High Performance High Cycle Battery Markets. “Ultrathin Asymmetric Porous-Nickel Graphene-Based Super capacitor with High Energy Density and Silicon Nanowire,” A New Generation Battery that is:

 Energy Dense

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 Rapid Charge/ Re-Charge

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Key Markets & Commercial Applications:

 EV, (18650 & 21700); Drone and Marine Batteries

 Wearable Electronics< Medical Sensors and The Internet of Things

 Estimated $225B Market by 2025

Clemson University team’s graphene-enhanced aluminum-ion batteries outperform lithium-ion ones

Oct 19, 2017

Clemson’s graphene-enhanced aluminum ion batteries outperform Li-ion ones image

Researchers at Clemson University in the U.S have shown that replacing lithium with aluminum and graphene may be key for next-gen batteries.

Aluminum is regarded as non-toxic and much more plentiful than the lithium currently in widespread use (and cheaper). Aluminum also transfers energy more efficiently. Inside a battery, the element — lithium or aluminum — gives up some of its electrons, which flow through external wires to power a device.

Because of their atomic structure, lithium ions can only provide one electron at a time; aluminum can give three at a time. That, the team says, is the real point of the switch.
Still, aluminum ion batteries designed by other researchers have not performed as well as lithium ion batteries.

The Clemson team describes how they were able to get aluminum ion to perform better than previously tested aluminum ion batteries. “The problem isn’t that aluminum ions are deficient,” said a graduate student at the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute and the first author of the Nano Energy paper. 

It’s that unlike lithium ions that have been around for a while, we do not know much about how aluminum ions behave inside the battery.”

Material Matters

The electrode in a battery is like a bucket and the electrical charge is like sand inside the bucket. If the sand starts to flow out, the speed at which it flows is the current. The greater the speed (the larger the current) the quicker the bucket is empty and the sooner the battery goes flat. The more sand you store in the bucket, the longer the current lasts.

The Clemson team seems to have found a way to pack more sand in the bucket and used tools to confirm the bucket was full. Their new battery technology uses aluminum foil and few-layer graphene as the electrode to store electrical charge from aluminum ions present in the electrolyte.

“We knew that aluminum ions could be stored inside few-layer graphene,” the team said. “But the ions need to be packed efficiently to increase the battery capacity. The arrangement of aluminum ions inside graphene is critical for better battery performance.”

“These aluminum batteries can last more than 10,000 cycles without any performance loss,” the researchers said. “Our hope is to make aluminum batteries with higher energy to ultimately displace lithium-ion technology.”
The next step toward a commercially viable aluminum ion battery is lowering the cost. Although aluminum is relatively inexpensive, the electrolytes are pricey.

Source:  Clemson

Paper-based Supercapacitor uses metal Nanoparticles to Boost Energy Density

GIT Paper SuperCap 171005121053_1_540x360Images show the difference between paper prior to metallization (left) and the paper coated with conductive nanoparticles. Credit: Ko et al., published in Nature Communications

Using a simple layer-by-layer coating technique, researchers from the U.S. and Korea have developed a paper-based flexible supercapacitor that could be used to help power wearable devices. The device uses metallic nanoparticles to coat cellulose fibers in the paper, creating supercapacitor electrodes with high energy and power densities — and the best performance so far in a textile-based supercapacitor.

By implanting conductive and charge storage materials in the paper, the technique creates large surface areas that function as current collectors and nanoparticle reservoirs for the electrodes. Testing shows that devices fabricated with the technique can be folded thousands of times without affecting conductivity.

“This type of flexible energy storage device could provide unique opportunities for connectivity among wearable and internet of things devices,” said Seung Woo Lee, an assistant professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We could support an evolution of the most advanced portable electronics. We also have an opportunity to combine this supercapacitor with energy-harvesting devices that could power biomedical sensors, consumer and military electronics, and similar applications.”

The research, done with collaborators at Korea University, was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and reported September 14 in the journal Nature Communications.

Energy storage devices are generally judged on three properties: their energy density, power density and cycling stability. Supercapacitors often have high power density, but low energy density — the amount of energy that can be stored — compared to batteries, which often have the opposite attributes. In developing their new technique, Lee and collaborator Jinhan Cho from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Korea University set out to boost energy density of the supercapacitors while maintaining their high power output.

The researchers began by dipping paper samples into a beaker of solution containing an amine surfactant material designed to bind the gold nanoparticles to the paper. Next they dipped the paper into a solution containing gold nanoparticles. Because the fibers are porous, the surfactants and nanoparticles enter the fibers and become strongly attached, creating a conformal coating on each fiber.

By repeating the dipping steps, the researchers created a conductive paper on which they added alternating layers of metal oxide energy storage materials such as manganese oxide. The ligand-mediated layer-by-layer approach helped minimize the contact resistance between neighboring metal and/or metal oxide nanonparticles. Using the simple process done at room temperatures, the layers can be built up to provide the desired electrical properties.

“It’s basically a very simple process,” Lee said. “The layer-by-layer process, which we did in alternating beakers, provides a good conformal coating on the cellulose fibers. We can fold the resulting metallized paper and otherwise flex it without damage to the conductivity.”

Though the research involved small samples of paper, the solution-based technique could likely be scaled up using larger tanks or even a spray-on technique. “There should be no limitation on the size of the samples that we could produce,” Lee said. “We just need to establish the optimal layer thickness that provides good conductivity while minimizing the use of the nanoparticles to optimize the tradeoff between cost and performance.”

The researchers demonstrated that their self-assembly technique improves several aspects of the paper supercapacitor, including its areal performance, an important factor for measuring flexible energy-storage electrodes. The maximum power and energy density of the metallic paper-based supercapacitors are estimated to be 15.1mWcm?2 and 267.3 ?Wh cm?2, respectively, substantially outperforming conventional paper or textile supercapacitors.

The next steps will include testing the technique on flexible fabrics, and developing flexible batteries that could work with the supercapacitors. The researchers used gold nanoparticles because they are easy to work with, but plan to test less expensive metals such as silver and copper to reduce the cost.

During his Ph.D. work, Lee developed the layer-by-layer self-assembly process for energy storage using different materials. With his Korean collaborators, he saw a new opportunity to apply that to flexible and wearable devices with nanoparticles.

“We have nanoscale control over the coating applied to the paper,” he added. “If we increase the number of layers, the performance continues to increase. And it’s all based on ordinary paper.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Georgia Institute of TechnologyNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yongmin Ko, Minseong Kwon, Wan Ki Bae, Byeongyong Lee, Seung Woo Lee, Jinhan Cho. Flexible supercapacitor electrodes based on real metal-like cellulose papersNature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00550-3

Supercharging Silicon Batteries – Powering Up LI Batteries

super silicon LI batt anode 170906103638_1_540x360
The porosity of the nano-structured Tantalum (in black) enables the formation of silicon channels (in blue) allowing lithium ions to travel faster within the battery. The rigidity of the tantalum scaffold also limits the expansion of the silicon and preserve structural integrity. Credit: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University Nanoparticles by Design Unit

Scientists have designed a novel silicon-based anode to provide lithium batteries with increased power and better stability.


As the world shifts towards renewable energy, moving on from fossil fuels, but at the same time relying on ever more energy-gobbling devices, there is a fast-growing need for larger high-performance batteries. Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) power most of our portable electronics, but they are flammable and can even explode, as it happened to a recent model of smartphone. To prevent such accidents, the current solution is to encapsulate the anode — which is the negative (-) electrode of the battery, opposite to the cathode (+) — into a graphite frame, thus insulating the lithium ions. However, such casing is limited to a small scale to avoid physical collapse, therefore restraining the capacity — the amount of energy you can store — of the battery.

Looking for better materials, silicon offers great advantages over carbon graphite for lithium batteries in terms of capacity. Six atoms of carbon are required to bind a single atom of lithium, but an atom of silicon can bind four atoms of lithium at the same time, multiplying the battery capacity by more than 10-fold. However, being able to capture that many lithium ions means that the volume of the anode swells by 300% to 400%, leading to fracturing and loss of structural integrity. To overcome this issue, OIST researchers have now reported in Advanced Science the design of an anode built on nanostructured layers of silicon — not unlike a multi-layered cake — to preserve the advantages of silicon while preventing physical collapse.

This new battery is also aiming to improve power, which is the ability to charge and deliver energy over time.

“The goal in battery technology right now is to increase charging speed and power output,” explained Dr. Marta Haro Remon, first author of the study. “While it is fine to charge your phone or your laptop over a long period of time, you would not wait by your electric car for three hours at the charging station.”

And when it comes to providing energy, you would want your car to start off quickly at a traffic light or a stop sign, requiring a high spike in power, rather than slowly creeping forward. A well-thought design of a silicone-based anode might be a solution and answer these expectations.img_0132-3

The idea behind the new anode in the Nanoparticles by Design Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University is the ability to precisely control the synthesis and the corresponding physical structure of the nanoparticles. Layers of unstructured silicon films are deposited alternatively with tantalum metal nanoparticle scaffolds, resulting in the silicon being sandwiched in a tantalum frame.

“We used a technique called Cluster Beam Deposition,” continued Dr. Haro. “The required materials are directly deposited on the surface with great control. This is a purely physical method, there are no need for chemicals, catalysts or other binders.”

“We used a technique called Cluster Beam Deposition,” continued Dr. Haro. “The required materials are directly deposited on the surface with great control. This is a purely physical method, there are no need for chemicals, catalysts or other binders.”

The outcome of this research, led by Prof. Sowwan at OIST, is an anode with higher power but restrained swelling, and excellent cyclability — the amount of cycles in which a battery can be charged and discharged before losing efficiency. By looking closer into the nanostructured layers of silicon, the scientists realized the silicon shows important porosity with a grain-like structure in which lithium ions could travel at higher speeds compared to unstructured, amorphous silicon, explaining the increase in power. At the same time the presence of silicon channels along the Ta nanoparticle scaffolds allows the lithium ions to diffuse in the entire structure. On the other hand, the tantalum metal casing, while restraining swelling and improving structural integrity, also limited the overall capacity — for now.

However, this design is currently only at the stage of proof-of-concept, opening the door to numerous opportunities to improve capacity along with the increased power.

“It is a very open synthesis approach, there are many parameters you can play around,” commented Dr. Haro. “For example, we want to optimize the numbers of layers, their thickness, and replace tantalum metal with other materials.”

With this technique paving the way, it might very well be that the solution for future batteries, forecast to be omnipresent in our lives, will be found in nanoparticles.

Story Source:


Material provided by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Marta Haro, Vidyadhar Singh, Stephan Steinhauer, Evropi Toulkeridou, Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos, Mukhles Sowwan. Nanoscale Heterogeneity of Multilayered Si Anodes with Embedded Nanoparticle Scaffolds for Li-Ion BatteriesAdvanced Science, 2017; 1700180 DOI: 10.1002/advs.201700180

Silicon Solves Problems for next-Generation Battery Technology: University of Eastern Finland

Silicon in New LI Batts 170830114817_1_540x360

Silicon — the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust — shows great promise in Li-ion batteries, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland. By replacing graphite anodes with silicon, it is possible to quadruple anode capacity.

In a climate-neutral society, renewable and emission-free sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, will become increasingly widespread. The supply of energy from these sources, however, is intermittent, and technological solutions are needed to safeguard the availability of energy also when it’s not sunny or windy. Furthermore, the transition to emission-free energy forms in transportation requires specific solutions for energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries are considered to have the best potential.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland introduced new technology to Li-ion batteries by replacing graphite used in anodes by silicon. The study analysed the suitability of electrochemically produced nanoporous silicon for Li-ion batteries. It is generally understood that in order for silicon to work in batteries, nanoparticles are required, and this brings its own challenges to the production, price and safety of the material.

However, one of the main findings of the study was that particles sized between 10 and 20 micrometres and with the right porosity were in fact the most suitable ones to be used in batteries. The discovery is significant, as micrometre-sized particles are easier and safer to process than nanoparticles. This is also important from the viewpoint of battery material recyclability, among other things. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.

“In our research, we were able to combine the best of nano- and micro-technologies: nano-level functionality combined with micro-level processability, and all this without compromising performance,” Researcher Timo Ikonen from the University of Eastern Finland says. “Small amounts of silicon are already used in Tesla’s batteries to increase their energy density, but it’s very challenging to further increase the amount,” he continues.

Next, researchers will combine silicon with small amounts of carbon nanotubes in order to further enhance the electrical conductivity and mechanical durability of the material.

“We now have a good understanding of the material properties required in large-scale use of silicon in Li-ion batteries. However, the silicon we’ve been using is too expensive for commercial use, and that’s why we are now looking into the possibility of manufacturing a similar material from agricultural waste, for example from barley husk ash,” Professor Vesa-Pekka Lehto explains.

Story Source:


provided by University of Eastern FinlandNote: Content may be edited for style and length.