Economical Water-Based Batteries to Store Solar and Wind Energy – Are They the Answer to Our Renewable Energy Future?


Introduction

In this age endless scientific advancements and technological developments, the two rapidly growing forms of energy generation in the world are wind and solar, and both have the same fundamental constraint.

These forms of energy generation are subject to weather conditions, and there are times when they don’t generate any electricity at all. Energy companies who are dependent these generation methods require some type of backup while their solar farms and wind turbines are logged off.

Since there are not many options for these energy companies, most of them turn to fossil fuels like coal or natural gas which notably undermines the advantages of green energy to a great extent.

Nonetheless, an alternate solution which is being trialled in some parts of the world is battery storage so that surplus power produced from renewable energy can be saved for the future. But batteries have their own set of intricacies and problems. Majority of the utility-scale battery systems are costly to build, and they can only last for a specified period of time.

Commonly, the lifespan of rechargeable batteries is around a decade before they can no longer hold a charge and need replacement.

Nevertheless, a group of researchers at Stanford University have come up with a new type of water-based battery. Composed of water and salt, they hope that the battery could be utilised to store energy produced from wind and solar farms, boosting the effectiveness of renewable energy sources.

To put it simply, the battery could diminish the need to burn carbon-emitting fossil fuels and provide a cost-effective measure to store wind or solar energy. Last but not least, this new type of battery developed by researchers at Stanford has the potential to solve global problems with an inexpensive, durable battery perfect for utility-scale energy storage.

All You Need To Know About The Research Project 

Yi Cui, the senior author of the research project, and a professor of materials science at the Stanford elaborated upon their project. He explained that they had dissolved a special salt in the water, and put an electrode.

Dr. Yi Cui

They developed a changeable chemical reaction that could store electrons in the form of hydrogen gas. Cui also stated that they-they had recognised catalysts that could bring them below the $100 per kilowatt-hour, which was the target of the Department of Energy (DOE).

In the meantime, Steven Chu, erstwhile DOE secretary and Nobel laureate and a professor at Stanford who was not a part of the research team recapitulated that the prototype demonstrated that science and engineering could attain newer ways of inexpensive, highly durable, and utility-scale batteries.

The prototype of the device developed connected a power source to the battery to mimic power that could be fed by energies, namely solar or wind.

The electricity was pumped through the solution, and it triggered a chemical reaction resulting in the formation of manganese dioxide and pure hydrogen gas. In simple words, the Electrons and the manganese sulphate dissolved underwent reaction and the particles of manganese dioxide that were left clinging to the electrodes.

The overabundant electrons commenced bubbling. The hydrogen gas could then be stored and later burned as fuel whenever there was a requirement for excess electricity. Therefore, the battery is highly efficient and durable. Once it is drained, it can be easily recharged with more electricity and the process continues. 

At present, the prototype is around three inches tall, and it has the potential to generate 20 milliwatt-hours of electricity. Moreover, it is reported that this could be scaled to an industrial-grade system that had the capacity to charge and recharge up to 10,000 times and develop a grid-scale battery which had a remarkable lifespan.

In addition to that, the device is also being viewed as a form of backup to deal with demand escalations.Despite all these endeavours, there is still a long way to go before the availability, and global utilisation of this type of battery becomes widespread.

The researchers have only examined a small prototype in the lab, and there is no assurance that the design will perform excellently in the field. But if the battery is as inexpensive and long-lasting as it seems to be, this type of storage will become prevalent in all parts of the world within a very short span of time. 

Final Words 

The demand for economical water-based batteries to store solar and wind energy is quickly increasing. It is so because energy generation has become necessary and it is the need of the hour.

Furthermore, inexpensive and durable batteries could increase the number of utilities building solar and wind plants. Besides that, a cost-effective battery would get rid of the biggest downside of renewable energy. On this account, water-based batteries will be nothing less than a miraculous boon to the entire world. 

Nikola Corporation to Unveil Game-Changing Battery Cell Technology at Nikola World 2020


Nikola 1A download

Technology encompasses world’s first free-standing / self-supported electrode with a cathode that has 4x the energy density of lithium-ion

Nikola Corporation is excited to announce details of its new battery that has a record energy density of 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. The Nikola prototype cell is the first battery that removes binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell. It is also expected to pass nail penetration standards, thus reducing potential vehicle fires.

  • Technology encompasses world’s first free-standing / self-supported electrode with a cathode that has 4x the energy density of lithium-ion
  • Achieves 2,000 cycles
  • Cell technology expected to cost 50% less to produce than lithium-ion
  • Could drive down the cost of hydrogen and double the range of battery-electric vehicles worldwide
  • Nikola will share IP with all other OEM’s around the world that contribute.

This battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from 300 miles up to 600 miles with little or no increase to battery size and weight. The technology is also designed to operate in existing vehicle conditions. Moreover, cycling the cells over 2,000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance.

Nikola’s new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. While conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants.

This month, Nikola entered into a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery engineering team to help bring the new battery to pre-production. Through this acquisition, Nikola will add 15 PhDs and five master’s degree team members. Due to confidentiality and security reasons, additional details of the acquisition will not be disclosed until Nikola World 2020.

“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world,” said Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company. “We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world.”

“Nikola is in discussions with customers for truck orders that could fill production slots for more than ten years and propel Nikola to become the top truck manufacturer in the world in terms of revenue. Now the question is why not share it with the world?” said Milton.

Nikola 1A download

 

Nikola Reveals Range of Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Battery-Electric Vehicles

Nikola will show the batteries charging and discharging in front of the crowd at Nikola World. The date of Nikola World will be announced soon but is expected to be fall of 2020.

Points include:

  • Nikola’s battery electric trucks could now drive 800 miles fully loaded between charges
  • Nikola trucks could weigh 5,000 lbs. less than the competition if same battery size was kept
  • Nikola’s hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks could surpass 1,000 miles between stops and top off in 15 minutes
  • World’s first free-standing electrode automotive battery
  • Energy density up to 1,100 watt-hours per kg on a material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on a production cell level including; casing, terminals and separator — more than double current lithium-ion battery cells
  • Cycled over 2,000 times with acceptable end-of-life performance
  • 40% reduction in weight compared to lithium-ion cells
  • 50% material cost reduction per kWh compared to lithium-ion batteries

Due to the impact this technology will have on society and emissions, Nikola has taken an unprecedented position to share the IP with all other OEM’s, even competitors, that contribute to the Nikola IP license and new consortium.

OEMs or other partners can email batteries@nikolamotor.com for more information.

ABOUT NIKOLA CORPORATION
Nikola Corporation designs and manufactures hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen stations. Nikola is led by its visionary CEO Trevor Milton. The company is privately held and headquartered in Arizona. For more information, visit www.nikolamotor.com.

NCM 811 Almost Account For A Fifth Of EV Li-Ion Deployment In China


China is well advanced in switching to the NCM 811 type of lithium-ion cathode for EV batteries. 

The new NCM 811 lithium-ion battery chemistry takes the Chinese passenger xEV (BEV, PHEV, HEV) market like a storm.

According to Adamas Intelligence, In September, NCM 811 was responsible for 18% of passenger xEV battery deployment (by capacity).

The NCM 811 is a low cobalt-content cathode (nickel:cobalt:manganese at a ratio of 8:1:1).

The expansion is tremendous compared to 1% in January, 4% in June and 13% in August.

NCM 811 cells combines high-energy density with affordability (lower content of expensive cobalt), which probably is enough for most manufacturers to make the switch from NCM 523 and LFP (often bypassing NCM 622).

“In China, for the second month in a row, NCM 811 was second-only to NCM 523 by capacity deployed, while the once-popular NCM 622 now finds itself in fifth spot with a mere 5% of the market.

In the pursuit of lower costs and higher energy density, a growing number of automakers in China have seemingly opted to bypass NCM 622, shifting instead straight from LFP or NCM 523 cathode chemistries into high-nickel NCM 811.

Since January 2019, the market share of NCM 811 in China’s passenger EV market has rapidly increased from less than 1% to 18% and shows little signs of slowing its ingress. Outside of China, however, automakers have been slow to adopt NCM 811 to-date but we expect to see the chemistry make inroads in Europe and North America by as early as next year.”

NCM 811 share globally is also growing and in September it was at 7%.

The other leading low cobalt chemistry is Tesla/Panasonic’s NCA.

Source: Adamas Intelligence

Extreme weather is driving the energy storage boom – Could batteries become the new generators?


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Energy storage installations for homes and businesses — involving battery technology — are on the rise in areas where extreme weather threatens the electric power grid, such as flood-prone Houston, wildfire-stricken California and hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

A sustained power outage can lead to serious consequences, such as loss of income and even death. Because of climate change, the frequency of these extreme weather events and outages will climb.

Traditionally, buildings would rely upon gas-powered diesel generators during outages. These generators have their own problems and do not necessarily help the electric grid become more resilient.

With recent technological changes, could batteries become the new generators?

Tracking sharp growth in the past year

Small-scale, so-called behind-the-meter energy storage accounted for 60% of battery capacity in the United States during the first quarter of this year.

Deployments grew 138% in the past year, driven in part by families and business leaders who are seeking resilience against power disruptions in our increasingly volatile climate.

When properly designed, electric energy storage can not only provide additional grid resilience, it can further minimize greenhouse gas and local air emissions compared with the conventional gas generators.

Vulnerable regions look to storage for relief

The race for storage is on:

  • In California, solar installation companies have been reporting a steady uptick in solar-plus-storage orders this year. All of the state’s large electric investor-owned utilities are implementing Public Safety Power Shutoff programs, which would de-energize an electric line and intentionally cause a blackout. The goal is to prevent wildfires in high-wind conditions when power lines are at risk of igniting a wildfire. As a result, a growing number of Californians with the economic capability to invest in solar-plus-storage are weighing this option.
  • In Puerto Rico, installations of such systems doubled after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Battery suppliers such as Tesla had difficulty keeping up with orders. Before Maria, only about 5% of solar installations Tesla did came with storage; today 95% do, Energywire reported.
  • And in a rural New Hampshire town where residents and business owners struggle with outages after ice storms and heavy snowfalls, a local utility is proposing to back up the town with energy storage batteries that may also save ratepayers money over time.

Energy storage incentives align

Falling costs and new deployment incentives are fueling record investments in energy storage. Analysists expect such investments to soar by $620 billion globally over the next two decades.

In the U.S., 15 states so far have adopted policies that make it easier or more affordable to invest in energy storage.

Coinciding with these market changes is a realization in states such as South Carolina — which until recently lagged in clean energy investments — that people and businesses in coastal areas are increasingly vulnerable to storms.

With widespread power outages from hurricanes Florence and Irma fresh in mind, the state recently passed legislation supporting solar and energy projects.

As more states help expand the market, it is important to start thinking of energy storage as a key strategy to make buildings cleaner and more grid resilient. The technology will only become more important to prevent outages during extreme weather events.

Tesla battery experts describe million-mile cell in new paper


Tesla-Batteries-18650-Li-ion-Cells.jpg

At the Tesla Autonomy Event in April, Elon Musk said the Disruptors of Detroit were working on a new battery pack that would last a cool million miles, and said it would be available next year. Now Tesla battery research partner Jeff Dahn and his team have released a paper in which they describe this million-mile battery cell.

The new Li-ion battery cell features a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode and a new type of electrolyte. Dahn’s team has extensively tested the cells, and believe they could enable a battery pack that lasts over a million miles in an EV.

The team’s paper, A Wide Range of Testing Results on an Excellent Lithium-Ion Cell Chemistry to be used as Benchmarks for New Battery Technologies, was published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. The following brief excerpt (via Electrek) describes the results of testing the new cells:

“Up to three years of testing has been completed for some of the tests. Tests include long-term charge-discharge cycling at 20, 40 and 55° C, long-term storage at 20, 40 and 55° C, and high precision coulometry at 40° C. Several different electrolytes are considered in this LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/graphite chemistry, including those that can promote fast charging. The reasons for cell performance degradation and impedance growth are examined using several methods. We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage.”

This is a huge advance – the new cells last two to three times longer than Tesla’s current cells – and if the company can bring the new technology into production in a reasonable timeframe, it could radically change the economics of EVs.

The paper notes the importance of long-lasting batteries for such vehicles as robotaxis, long-haul trucks and transit buses. In these applications, a battery’s ability to deliver a high number of charge/discharge cycles is critical, in contrast to the consumer vehicle market, in which maximum range is the most important feature (at least from a marketing standpoint).

The paper also mentions vehicle-to-grid applications, which could someday allow EV owners to earn revenue from their cars while they aren’t being driven (see the upcoming issue of Charged for a profile of Fermata Energy, a pioneer in this space).

Meanwhile, job listings on Tesla’s web site seem to confirm rumors that the company plans to start manufacturing its own battery cells (as reported by Electrek).

The possibilities are endless.

Long-term cycling data plotted as percent initial capacity versus equivalent full cycles for NMC/graphite cells as described in the legend. The data from this work for 100% DOD cycling was collected to an upper cutoff potential of 4.3 V. The data from Ecker et al.,2 used 4.2 V as 100% state of charge. The purple and green data (this work) should be compared to the black data (Ecker et al.). Data for restricted range cycling (i.e. 25 – 75% SOC and 40 -60% SOC) for the cells in this work is not available but is expected to be far better than the data shown for 0 – 100% DOD cycling by analogy with the cells tested by Ecker et al.
Capacity remaining versus storage time for NMC/graphite cells as determined by reference performance testing every several months. The data from Ecker et al.2 and Schmitt et al.6 are for Sanyo UR18650E and Sony US18650V3 cells, respectively. The voltages and temperatures at which the cells were stored are given in the legends.
a) Measured properties of the NMC532/graphite 402035 (40 mm x 20 mm x 3.5 mm thick) pouch cells used here. The positive electrode was 94% active material, the loading was 21.1 mg/cm2 (target was 21.3) and the electrode density was 3.5 g/cm3. The negative electrode was 95.4% active material, the loading was 12.2 mg/cm2 (target was 11.8) and the electrode density was 1.55 g/cm3. b) Stack energy density of the NMC532/graphite couple for several electrode thicknesses. b) Stack energy density calculations – gives values for the electrode stack (negative coating/copper/negative coating/separator/positive coating/aluminum/positive coating/separator). Assumptions – copper foil = 8 μm, aluminum foil = 15 μm, separator = 16 μm, N/P capacity ratio = 1.1 at 4.3 V, average cell voltage = 3.75 V. The highlighted row represents the design used in this work.

Source: Journal of The Electrochemical Society 

Samsung set to ditch lithium ion batteries for graphene, and here’s why


Samsung phones will have super fast graphene, rather than lithium, batteries within the next two years.

According to leaker Evan Blass, Samsung is developing graphene batteries for its smartphones — and we could see the first ones arrive as soon as next year.

The reason for the change is clear: exceptionally fast charging. Reportedly a full charge will now take just half an hour on a graphene battery, and despite recent leaps forward in fast-charging that would still be a significant improvement on the standard lithium ion battery.

The news is the latest update we’ve heard since Samsung reported in 2017 that they had developed a graphene ball that could charge 5x faster than standard phone batteries (reported by Cnet). So why is it taking so long for the batteries to make it onto the market? Blass surmises that’s it’s simply a question of economics: “they still need to raise capacities while lowering costs.” Once that balance is found, this tech innovation could be a true game changer.

This news comes shortly after the release of Samsung’s latest flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note 10. It boasts an impressive 3500mAh battery, while it’s big brother — the Galaxy Note 10 Plus — has a whopping capacity of 4300mAh. But they’re not just about batteries. While both run on the powerful Exynos 9825 chip, specifications diverge significantly. The Galaxy note 10 has an 6.3-inch 1080 x 2280 resolution screen, with 8GB of RAM and a triple camera set-up; meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has an even larger 6.8-inch screen with a sharper 1440 x 3040 resolution, 12GB of RAM, and its triple rear camera is complemented with a Time of Flight 3D sensor.

With all the recent innovations in smartphone batteries, from huge capacities to Qi wireless charging, you might have thought there was nowhere else to innovate. But graphene technology could point towards an era of even faster charging. All that’s left to be seen is how pricey is it, and whether the capacity will be enough to satisfy demanding users.

Update: All-Electric Car Range, Price & More Compared For U.S. – July 2019


The BEV offer in the U.S. is getting more attractive on both ends – affordable and high-end. 

The third quarter of this year brings us several changes in pricing and availability of all-electric cars in the U.S.– those changes are mostly related to Tesla models.

First of all, from July on, Tesla buyers can count on only $1,875 of federal tax credit (instead of $3,750). Secondly, Tesla lowered prices of 3/S/X and dropped some versions entirely. Other than that, we didn’t note any important changes, but as always in the car business – the real prices can be much lower than MSRP (like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, for example) or much higher than MSRP (when a particular model is production constrained).

Below we attached a comparison in the form of a table as well as charts, sorted by range and by price. Each position is a separate model (or version if there are differences in range or powertrain).

All-Electric Cars Compared By Range, U.S. – July 22, 2019

The range of BEVs varies from less than 60 miles to 370 miles (595 km), according to the EPA. Six Tesla versions are above 300 miles, in total 16 BEVs are above 200 miles.

All-Electric Cars Compared By Price, U.S. – July 22, 2019

Taking into consideration MSRP and deducting the federal tax credit, the base 200+ mile range electric cars start at around $30,000.

As many Chevrolet dealers often lower the Bolt EV price by several thousand, you could get a 200+ mile BEV for less than $30,000.

** Some models estimated.

Article re-posted from InsideEvs.

The Tesla Effect is Reaching Critical Mass – Could it Really Put Big Oil on the Defensive … Really?


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*** This article appeared in TESLARATI and was re-posted in Fully Charged. We have Followed and Written a LOT about the ‘Coming EV Revolution’, about Advances in Charging Stations and Battery Technology. Most recently we posted an article ‘What If Green Energy Isn’t the Future?’

So maybe … just maybe, ‘Green Energy’ might NOT be able to meet the current Projected Carbon Fuel Replacement Schedule …. However, could the EV/ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Revolution replace forever the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)?  (Hint: We Think So!)

Let Us Know What YOU think! Leave us your thoughts and comments. (below)

Headed by vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, the electric car revolution is showing no signs of stopping. The auto landscape today is very different from what it was years ago. Before, only Tesla and a few automakers were pushing electric cars, and the Model S was proving to the industry that EVs could be objectively better than internal combustion vehicles. Today, practically every automaker has plans to release electric cars. EV startup Bollinger Motors CEO Robert Bollinger summed it up best: “If you want to start a (car company) now, it has to be electric.”

CATALYSTS FOR A TRANSITION

A critical difference between then and now is that veteran automakers today are coming up with decent electric vehicles. No longer were EVs glorified golf carts and compliance cars; today’s electric vehicles are just as attractive, sleek, and powerful than their internal combustion peers. The auto industry has warmed up to electric vehicles as well. The Jaguar I-PACE has been collecting awards left and right since its release, and more recently, the Kia Niro EV was dubbed by Popular Mechanics as the recipient of its Car of the Year award.

A survey by CarGurus earlier this year revealed that 34% of car buyers are open to purchasing an electric car within the next ten years. A survey among young people in the UK last year revealed even more encouraging results, with 50% of respondents stating that they want electric cars. Amidst the disruption being brought about by the Tesla Model 3, which has all but dominated EV sales since production ramped last year, experienced automakers have responded in kind. Volkswagen recently debuted the ID.3, Audi has the e-tron, Hyundai has the Kona EV, and Mercedes-Benz has the EQC. Even Porsche, a low-volume car manufacturer, is attracting the high-end legacy market with the Taycan.

At this point, it appears that Tesla’s mission is going well underway. With the market now open to the idea of electric vehicles, there is an excellent chance that EV adoption will only increase from this point on.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Tesla Semi. (Credit: Tesla)

BIG OIL FEELS A CHANGE IN THE WIND

Passenger cars are the No.1 source of demand for oil, and with the potential emergence of a transportation industry whose life and death does not rely on a gas pump, Big Oil could soon find itself on the defensive. Depending on how quickly the auto industry could shift entirely to sustainable transportation and how seriously governments handle issues like climate change, “peak oil” could happen a couple of decades or a few years from now. This could adversely affect investors in the oil industry, who might be at risk of losing their investments if peak oil happens faster than expected. JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, described this potential scenario in a statement to CNN. “Look at what happened to the coal industry. You have to keep that in the back of your mind and be vigilant. It can turn very, very quickly,” the strategist said.

Paul Sankey of Mizuho Securities previously mentioned that a “Tesla Effect” is starting to be felt in the oil markets. According to the analyst, the Tesla Effect is an increasingly prevalent concept today which states that while the 20th century was driven by oil, the 21st century will be driven by electricity. This, together with the growing movements against climate change today, does not bode well for the oil industry. Adam White, an equity strategist at SunTrust Advisory, stated that investors might not be looking at the oil market with optimism anymore. “A lot of damage has already been done. People are jaded towards the industry,” he said.

Prospective oil developments have been fraudulently overvalued, as claimed by a Complaint filed against Exxon. (Photo: Pixabay)

An analysis from Barclays points to the world’s reliance on oil peaking somewhere between 2030 and 2035, provided that countries keep to their low-carbon goals. The investment bank also noted that peak oil could happen as early as 2025 if more aggressive climate change initiatives are adopted on a wider scale. This all but makes investments in oil stocks very risky in the 2020s, and this risk gets amplified if electric vehicles become more mainstream. Sverre Alvik of research firm DNV GL described this concern. “By 2030, oil shareholders will feel the impact. Electric vehicles are likely to cause light vehicle oil demand to plunge by nearly 50% by 2040,” Alvik said.

Some of today’s prolific oil producers appear to be making the necessary preparations for peak oil’s inevitable decline. Amidst pressures from shareholders, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total have expanded their operations into solar, wind, and electric charging, seemingly as a means to future-proof themselves. On the flipside, there are also big oil players that are ramping their activities. Earlier this month, financial titan Warren Buffet, who recently expressed his skepticism towards Elon Musk’s plan of introducing an insurance service for Tesla’s electric cars, committed $10 billion to Occidental Petroleum, one of the largest oil and gas exploration companies in the United States.

A POINT OF NO RETURN

The auto industry is now at a point where a real transition towards electrification is happening. Tesla’s efforts over the years, from the original Roadster to the Model 3, have played a huge part in this transition. Tesla, as well as its CEO, Elon Musk, have awakened the public’s eye about the viability of electric cars, while showing the auto industry that there is a demand for good, well-designed EVs. Nevertheless, Tesla still has a long journey ahead of it, as the company ramps its activities in the energy storage sector. If Tesla Energy mobilizes and becomes as disruptive as the company’s electric car division, it would deal yet another blow to the oil industry.

At this point, it is pertinent for veteran automakers that have released their own electric cars to ensure that they do not stop. Legacy car makers had long talked the talk when it came to electric vehicles, but today, it is time to walk the walk. German automaker Volkswagen could be a big player in this transition, as hinted at by the reception of its all-electric car, the ID.3. The ID.3 launch was successful, with Volkswagen getting 10,000 preorders for the vehicle in just 24 hours. The German carmaker should see this as writing on the wall: the demand for EVs is there.

The Volkswagen ID.3. (Credit: Volkswagen)

The Volkswagen ID.3 is not as quick or sleek as a Tesla Model 3, nor does it last as long on the road between charges. But considering its price point and its badge, it does not have to be. Volkswagen states that the ID.3 will be priced below 40,000 euros ($45,000) in Germany, which should make it attainable for car buyers in the country.  If done right, the ID.3 could be the second coming of the Beetle, ultimately becoming a car that redeems the company from the stigma of the Dieselgate scandal. Thus, it would be a great shame if Volkswagen drops the ball on the ID.3.

Tesla will likely remain a divisive company for years to come; Elon Musk, even more so. Nevertheless, Tesla and what it stands for is slowly becoming an idea, one that connotes hope for something better and cleaner for the future. And if history’s victories and tragedies are any indication, once something becomes an idea, an intangible concept, it becomes impossible to kill.

Watch and Learn More

Mobility Disruption | Tony Seba

Tony Seba, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Author and Thought Leader, Lecturer at Stanford University, Keynote The reinvention and connection between infrastructure and mobility will fundamentally disrupt the clean transport model.

Nano-Enabled Batteries and Super Capacitors

Argonne National Laboratory – New coating could have big implications for lithium batteries


Argonne scientists have developed a new coating (shown in blue) for battery cathodes that can improve the electronic and ionic conductivity of a battery while improving its safety and cycling performance. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Building a better lithium-ion battery involves addressing a myriad of factors simultaneously, from keeping the battery’s cathode electrically and ionically conductive to making sure that the battery stays safe after many cycles.

In a new discovery, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new   by using an oxidative chemical vapor deposition technique that can help solve these and several other potential issues with  all in one stroke.

“The coating we’ve discovered really hits five or six birds with one stone.” Khalil Amine, Argonne distinguished fellow and  scientist.

In the research, Amine and his fellow researchers took particles of Argonne’s pioneering nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode material and encapsulated them with a sulfur-containing polymer called PEDOT. This polymer provides the cathode a layer of protection from the battery’s electrolyte as the battery charges and discharges.

Unlike conventional coatings, which only protect the exterior surface of the micron-sized cathode particles and leave the interior vulnerable to cracking, the PEDOT coating had the ability to penetrate to the cathode particle’s interior, adding an additional layer of shielding.

In addition, although PEDOT prevents the chemical interaction between the battery and the electrolyte, it does allow for the necessary transport of lithium ions and electrons that the battery requires in order to function.

“This coating is essentially friendly to all of the processes and chemistry that makes the battery work and unfriendly to all of the potential reactions that would cause the battery to degrade or malfunction,” said Argonne chemist Guiliang Xu, the first author of the research.

The coating also largely prevents another reaction that causes the battery’s cathode to deactivate. In this reaction, the  converts to another form called spinel. “The combination of almost no spinel formation with its other properties makes this coating a very exciting material,” Amine said.

The PEDOT material also demonstrated the ability to prevent oxygen release, a major factor for the degradation of NMC cathode materials at . “This PEDOT coating was also found to be able to suppress oxygen release during charging, which leads to better  and also improves safety,” Amine said.

Amine indicated that battery scientists could likely scale up the coating for use in nickel-rich NMC-containing batteries. “This polymer has been around for a while, but we were still surprised to see that it has all of the encouraging effects that it does,” he said.

With the coating applied, the researchers believe that the NMC-containing batteries could either run at higher voltages—thus increasing their —or have longer lifetimes, or both.

To perform the research, the scientists relied on two DOE Office of Science User Facilities located at Argonne: the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM). In situ high-energy X-ray diffraction measurements were taken at beamline 11-ID-C of the APS, and focused ion beam lithography and  were performed at the CNM.

A paper based on the study, “Building ultra-conformal protective layers on both secondary and primary particles of layered lithium transition metal oxide cathodes,” appeared in the May 13 online edition of Nature Energy.

More information: Gui-Liang Xu et al, Building ultraconformal protective layers on both secondary and primary particles of layered lithium transition metal oxide cathodes, Nature Energy(2019).  DOI: 10.1038/s41560-019-0387-1

Journal information: Nature Energy

Provided by Argonne National Laboratory

Electric Car Price Tag Shrinks Along With Battery Cost – Updated ‘Crossover Point’ – 2022


Bloomberg Shrinking EV 800x-1Big things, small packages. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Every year, Bloomberg NEF’s advanced transport team builds a bottom-up analysis of the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle and compares it to the cost of a combustion-engine vehicle of the same size. The crossover point — when electric vehicles become cheaper than their combustion-engine equivalents — will be a crucial moment for the EV market. All things being equal, upfront price parity makes a buyer’s decision to buy an EV a matter of taste, style or preference — but not, for much longer, a matter of cost.

Every year, that crossover point gets closer. In 2017, a Bloomberg NEF analysis forecast that the crossover point was in 2026, nine years out. In 2018, the crossover point was in 2024 — six years (or, as I described it then, two lease cycles) out.

The crossover point, per the latest analysis, is now 2022 for large vehicles in the European Union. For that, we can thank the incredible shrinking electric vehicle battery, which isn’t so much shrinking in size as it is shrinking — dramatically — in cost.

Analysts have for several years been using a sort of shorthand for describing an electric vehicle battery: half the car’s total cost. That figure, and that shorthand, has changed in just a few years. For a midsize U.S. car in 2015, the battery made up more than 57 percent of the total cost. This year, it’s 33 percent. By 2025, the battery will be only 20 percent of total vehicle cost.

Bloombergs Shrinking EV Battery -1x-1

My colleague Nikolas Soulopoulos, author of the research note, provided further insights. The first is that he expects electric vehicle chassis and body costs to drop slightly, while those same costs will rise modestly for combustion vehicles “as a result of light-weighting and other measures to help comply with emissions targets.”

Second, Soulopoulos expects bigger cost improvements in the electric powertrain, as “large-volume manufacturing is only now beginning for such parts.” By 2030, costs for motors, inverters and power electronics could be 25 to 30 percent lower than they are today.

The incredible shrinking electric vehicle battery doesn’t just mean cheaper electric passenger cars. It also means all sorts of other vehicles that weren’t previously practical to electrify now are — and beyond proof-of-concept scale, too.

One example: Komatsu Ltd. has just announced a small all-electric excavator. The company’s rationale is worth reading:

Equipped with an in-house developed new charger, high-voltage converter and other devices, it offers excavation performance on par with the internal combustion model of the same power output, while achieving zero exhaust gas emissions and a dynamic reduction in noise levels. It is an environment and people-friendly machine. Komatsu expects a wider range of applications for this machine, including construction work near hospitals or schools or in residential areas, where contractors have conventionally paid special attention to exhaust gas and noise during work, as well as inside tunnels or buildings.

There are new electric vehicles at sea as well. Stena Line plans to install batteries in one of its car ferries between Sweden and Denmark, rolling out its battery systems incrementally. The first, a 1 megawatt-hour battery, will power the ship when it is maneuvering in port. The next, a 20 megawatt-hour battery, will provide power for port operations and “about 10 nautical miles” beyond. The final, a 50 megawatt-hour battery, will provide 50 nautical miles’ worth of power. “As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation becomes a very exciting alternative to traditional fuels for shipping, as emissions to air can be completely eliminated,” says Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Martensson.

Smaller EV batteries will soon be flying, too. Harbour Air Ltd., which operates 42 planes in 12 short routes in British Columbia, is adding an electric plane to its fleet. “The intent is to eventually convert the entire fleet,” says founder and CEO Greg McDougall, who offers a familiar rationale for his optimism: Ranges and capabilities “are changing very rapidly with the development of the battery technology.”

McDougall’s company is seeking approval for his plans ahead of today’s battery economics in anticipation of what’s coming. “We don’t want to be trying to get through the regulatory process after it becomes more economically viable; we want to do it now,” he says.

 

Nathaniel Bullard is a Bloomberg NEF energy analyst, covering technology and business model innovation and system-wide resource transitions.