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prototype

Indian start-up plans next stage of second-life lithium-ion ESS development

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:34 -- Paul Crompton

An Indian start-up has developed a prototype energy storage system using recycled lithium batteries from electric vehicles.

Totus Power has field trailed a prototype/proof of concept in India, but remains 12 months and $350,000 away from doing a pilot with a pre-production prototype.

The company can take a used EV module, connect it to its own battery management system and charge an ESS from a solar or a plug-in power source.

It can be used to replace lead-acid batteries or fossil fuel energy generation, said Siva (Shiv) Rajendran, founder and CEO of Totus Power

He told BBB the company has all the infrastructure/relationships to make up to 5,000 units a year.

The company is currently sourcing end-of-life batteries from an unnamed ‘large’ automaker’s ‘most popular EV model’.

Rajendran said: “The deal is in the works, hence I can’t share the name yet. This is already a large supply pool, which we will take a few years to fully utilise. Conservatively, we can make 10,000 units a year - if not more. 

“It seems very simple to manufacture a EV battery down to a Totus Power product.

“The Modules are the building blocks of a EV battery and is shipped in boxes to us by the automaker directly. We already pre decide what level of quality these used modules are, i.e SOH%). 

“Some of our knowledge is in correlating this SOH% to real world life, along with the supply chain and associated shipping and recycling regulations.  

“But they say the devil is in the details: So over the next 12 months, when we start writing our assembly/manufacturing procedures, I will have a better handle on what ‘simple to manufacture’ actually means.”

However, because the firm is mainly self-funded and has only secured a few grants to date, its speed of execution is dependent on more cash becoming available. 

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Prototype battery breaks bottleneck in lithium-sulphur progress

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 12:55 -- Xuan Zhong

Scientists in the UK have developed a prototype lithium-sulfur battery after being inspired by the cells in the human intestine.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge claim to have found a way to prevent the dissolution and diffusion of polysulfide in liquid organic electrolytes — a key issue when looking to commercially develop lithium-sulfur batteries.

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Japanese develop transparent lithium battery

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 10:41 -- Paul Crompton
Japanese develop transparent lithium battery

Japanese researchers at Kogakuin University have developed a prototype lithium-ion battery which is capable of recharging using sunlight. 

The battery uses a photovoltaic cell along with a cathode, made mostly from lithium iron phosphate, and an anode made of lithium titanate and lithium hexafluorophosphate.

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Lithium-ion without the rare earth metals

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

A Tohoku University researcher last month announced the development of a lithium-ion battery whose positive electrode does not use any rare earth metals.

Conventional lithium-ion batteries do use rare metals, such as cobalt and nickel, in the positive electrode. Due to their geochemical properties rare earth elements can be dispersed and often not found in concentrated or economically exploitable forms.  This makes these metals costly, and supplies not always stable. Eliminating them will likely make the batteries cheaper to manufacture.

China announced plans in 2009 to reduce its export quota of rare earth minerals to around 350,000 tons per year to conserve scarce resources and protect the environment.  This has led to other countries stock-piling their reserves.  The EU, US and Japan have brought a complaint to the World Trade Organisation alleging China is restricting the exports to maximize domestic use and thus distort the global economy.

Professor Itaru Honma of Tohoku University's Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials has succeeded in replacing these metals with organic substances. As a result, costs of materials for the positive electrode have been slashed to less than one-fifth what they were before.

Professor Honma made a button-sized lithium-ion battery for testing. This prototype achieved an energy density of 200 watt-hours per kilogram -- roughly double that of current lithium-ion batteries. Tests confirmed that the button-sized battery could withstand at least 100 charge-discharge cycles.

The next step will be to look further for organic materials that more efficiently store power and boost the battery's capacity, with a goal of developing a secondary battery for electric vehicles.

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