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Sodium-ion firms get cash boost to bring technology to market

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 15:44 -- Paul Crompton
Sodium-ion firms get cash boost to bring technology to market

A UK based project to develop sodium-ion batteries for the next generation of electric vehicles has received a £38.2million grant.

The scheme to develop the technology to meet vehicle manufacturer specifications is part of Innovate UK’s initiative to make the UK a global leader in emissions-cutting technology.

English firm Faradion and Scottish based AGM Batteries were awarded the funding to deliver a working prototype of its technology for electric vehicles (EVs) by 2018.

Due to sodium salts abundance sodium-ion batteries could one day be 30% cheaper than conventional lithium-ion cells, which in turn will reduce the cost of EVs.

The partnership aims to bring sodium-ion batteries to the EV market as early as 2025.

The two firms will modify existing sodium-ion technology to make it usable in EVs, including the adaptation of active materials at the cathode and anode to meet OEM specifications.

“This project will help the automotive industry to develop a more stable, sustainable and cost-effective solution to electric vehicle power than is currently available,” said Faradion CEO Francis Massin.

Earlier this year BBB reported how Faradion had partnered with AGM Batteries to scale up production of the technology at its 4,000 square metre production facility in Caithness, Scotland. 

Innovate has also awarded AGM £700,000 to develop the technology and produce first prototypes while Faradion received Innovate UK funding to develop the technology for solar energy storage in conjunction with Moixa Technology and WMG, University of Warwick.

 

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Nanoscale probe opens research into better performing batteries

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 15:50 -- Paul Crompton
Nanoscale probe opens research into better performing batteries

A probe developed by engineers at the University of Washington (UW) to investigate how batteries work at the nanoscale level could lead to increased energy density.

Similar to atomic force microscopy, the new tool allows scientists to study how chemical reactions progress at atom and molecular level.

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Megawatt lithium-ion micro-grid to harness Azores renewable energy

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 15:00 -- Paul Crompton
Megawatt lithium-ion micro-grid to harness Azores renewable energy

Perched in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores is the perfect place to use lithium-ion batteries to harness the renewable energy that surrounds the islands.

A 1MW solar photovoltaic power plant and a 3.2 MWh lithium-ion Younicos-designed microgrid system have been installed on the Azorean island of Graciosa to harness wind and sun.

A 4.5 MW wind park is currently under construction. Swiss company Leclanché provided the battery energy storage system.

The system was viewed recently by the Prime Minister of Portugal, Doctor António Costa, as well as the President of the Azorean Government, Doctor Vasco Cordeiro, and other high-level country officials.

The “island-mode” capability of the project’s intelligent battery system will enable up to 100% spontaneous renewable energy generation.

 

 

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Discovery could lead to 50% higher energy density next generation lithium-ion battery

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 14:57 -- Paul Crompton
Discovery could lead to 50% higher energy density next generation lithium-ion battery

Next generation lithium-ion batteries could use lithium rich cathodes after a discovery at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The research group, led by Gerbrand Ceder of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, came to the conclusion after studying how and when oxygen is active in lithium-excessive cathodes.

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1st UL-approved Lithium-ion batteries for forklifts go on sale

Mon, 06/06/2016 - 16:03 -- Paul Crompton
1st UL-approved Lithium-ion batteries for forklifts go on sale

The first UL-approved lithium-ion batteries to replace lead-acid in forklift trucks have gone into commercial production.

US-based Flux Power is aiming for an assembly volume of 100 packs a month by the end of the summer, to double by the end of the year.

The firm’s Light EV battery packs for Class III pallet jack forklifts, or “walkies”, were listed to UL 2271 certification in February.

Flux CEO Ron Dutt said there would be a particular focus on ’30 large customer prospects that have already piloted and/or purchased earlier generation LiFT Pack units’.

"Collectively these customers utilize an estimated 22,000 walkie pallet jacks nationwide and therefore represent aggregate sales potential of over $65 million in walkie LiFT Pack units alone,” he said. “Based on this... we are confident in our ability to achieve LiFT Pack sales of between $3 and $6 million over the next 12 months.”

Alongside its forklift truck battery developments, Flux has developed a 72 volt battery pack to power electric aviation ground support equipment, initially for baggage tow tucks which use the same technology as the forklift trucks.

 

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Johnson Controls looks to academy for lead-acid and stop-start breakthrough

Mon, 06/06/2016 - 15:55 -- Paul Crompton
Johnson Controls looks to academy for lead-acid and stop-start breakthrough

Johnson Controls has announced two multi-year research projects at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) aimed at enhancing lead-acid start-stop batteries and energy storage systems.

The first project will focus on identifying the ageing mechanisms of absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries and supporting systems in start-stop applications.

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German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 11:11 -- Paul Crompton
German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

German lithium-ion battery developer and producer BMZ GmbH has opened production facilities for Europe’s first gigafactory.

The two 4,800 m2 manufacturing units will enable 15 GWh, around 200million lithium-ion batteries of different kinds and sizes, to be developed, produced and tested every year.

The additional facilities, which include logistics and office buildings, are in Karlstein- Großwelzheim where BMZ already has existing production areas of 7,000 m2.

Four further production, laboratory and office buildings covering a combined 15,000 m2 are planned to be built before 2020.

Once completed BMZ aims to produce 30 GWh, around 800 million lithium-ion batteries, annually at the industrial site in Karlstein-Großwelzheim alone.

Company founder and owner Sven Bauer said: “The current discussions on subsidies for electric cars often forget that lithium-ion batteries are also used in e-bikes, electrical appliances, gardening tools, energy storage systems, transport vehicles, excavators and so on.

“Unlike electric cars we are presently undergoing a real demand boom in many of these sectors, and we assume that the demand in these segments will further increase by 15 to 30% annually in the coming years depending on application range.

“The modular concept of our new ultra-modern factory units enables BMZ to respond even faster and more flexible to this growth scenario as well as specified customer requests in the future.”

As first intermediate step BMZ intends to launch their own cell at the end of this year as a prototype

Bauer said: “From our point of view it is most important to commonly build up our own production of lithium-ion cells in Germany, too. That is the only way to reduce the dependency risks on the few, mainly Asiatic cell producers in the long run.”

Picture: Officially opened up the first section of Europe’s biggest battery factory in a ceremony (from left): Marco Schütz (CEO LIST AG), Dr. Ulrich Reuter (District Administrator, district of Aschaffenburg), Sven Bauer (CEO BMZ GmbH), Daniel Fabbiano (Plant Manager BMZ GmbH), Winfried Bruder (Mayor Municipality of Karlstein) 

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Discovery could pave way for lithium-air batteries

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:47 -- Paul Crompton
Discovery could pave way for lithium-air batteries

Lithium-air batteries are a step closer to market readiness after researchers made a breakthrough at a German university.

Rechargeable lithium-air batteries could be the next big thing, offering better performance at a lighter weight, theoretically at least.

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Large lithium-ion battery demand will drive shortage as e-vehicles and ESS popularity grows

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 14:01 -- Paul Crompton
Large lithium-ion battery demand will drive shortage as e-vehicles and ESS popularity grows

Demand for electric vehicles and energy storage systems will create a shortage of lithium-ion batteries within a few years, according to a report by IDTechEX.

The market for large-scale batteries in emerging applications such as electric vessels, grid-scale and residential ESSs and China’s rapidly growing e-bus market will hasten the shortage, said the report.

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Chinese lithium firm diverges into lead-acid

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 16:02 -- Paul Crompton
Chinese lithium firm diverges into lead-acid

New-energy vehicle firm China Dynamics is aiming to research and develop graphene lead-acid batteries, according to reports.

The Chinese company has signed an agreement with electric vehicle and advanced battery company Shanghai Xinchi Energy Technology.

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