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Solid electrolyte for lithium-ion

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Scientists as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries that will provide greater energy density. The substance is made by manipulating lithium-thiophosphate so that it could conduct ions 1000 times faster than in its natural bulk form. The researchers used nanostructuring to alter the structure of the crystals that make up the material.

By altering it in this way, the solid electrolyte was not flammable as a liquid electrolyte would be. Chengdu Liang, who led the study, said: "Cycling highly reactive lithium metal in flammable organic electrolytes causes serious safety concerns," Liang said. "A solid electrolyte enables the lithium metal to cycle well, with highly enhanced safety."

The team developed the solid electrolyte by refining lithium-thiophosphate until it could conduct ions at a faster rate than in its natural state.

"We started with a conventional material that is highly stable in a battery system - in particular one that is compatible with a lithium metal anode," said Liang.

One of the research paper’s coauthors, Adam Rondinone, said the method can be scaled up to create large amounts of the material based on the same nanostructuring.

India steps up power supply

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Following widespread power outages in much of India last year, one region is taking matters into its own hands.  The state of Bihar in the north east is expecting to see vast improvements to its domestic power supply, which is currently at a deficit of approximately 1000MW of power.

The state officials say grid supplies will improve by 600-700 MW this year, thanks in part to the Bahr thermal power station that will have two units each producing 660MW. This is expected to become operational in the second half of 2013. 

To meet the power demand at present, the state is largely run on diesel generators because only 900MW is available from central power supplies. The capital Patna requires 400MW alone.

Apart from central supplies, the State is also on course to re-commissioning approximately 345 MW of own capacity through an extensive renovation and modernisation project in joint venture with NTPC, India’s largest power company. The units have been neglected for many years and require restoration to become useful.

Exide Technologies say goodbye Texas hello India

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Technologies' battery recycling plant in Frisco, Texas US, is to close by the end of this year after a battle by city residents over environmental issues.

The company is now being sued by two environmental groups concerned about the impact the plant has had on the health of the population. 

The groups feel regulators failed to take action on violations being committed at the plant as found on inspections.

"There are chronic contamination problems at Exide that still pose a hazard to Frisco residents and property. There's also a long history of law-breaking that the company must be held accountable for," said Colette McCadden, secretary of Frisco Unleaded.

Exide has been a target of critics in recent years because of lead emissions that exceed the US federal air-quality standard. That standard was tightened in 2008 because of mounting research into the dangers of exposure to the toxic metal at very low levels.

Exide are ceasing operation at the end of this year and the city is buying the land to re-generate.

Things are looking better for the company elsewhere however. In India Exide are planning to expand their manufacturing capacity. They will focus upon the invertor segment as opposed to automotive batteries.

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