Friday, July 15, 2011

Lithium Ion Car Batteries Made Powerful And Cheaper By Nanostructures

Lithium Ion Car Batteries
If there is any component which limits our choice for electric vehicles, then it is its battery. Today, a high capacity battery is not only costly but also bulky which makes it a tough choice for designers and automakers so that, they have to compromise either by making a heavy battery or downsize it there by reducing its cost.

However downsizing will only lead to reduction in battery’s capacity. The problem is also the same for the so called highly efficient Lithium Ion batteries. A new entrepreneurship start up in Chine named Wuhe has claims to have made high capacity batteries based on Lithium ions which eliminates all the drawbacks in a traditional EV’s energy source.

The founder of Wuhe, Yu-Guo Guo, and a professor of Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing has developed an idea in the field of battery electrodes by bringing in innovation in Lithium-iron phosphate. Lithium-iron phosphate is one of the promising materials in development of high capacity energy storage devices. Although the capacity of Lithium iron phosphate is very less, Guo says that milling them in powder form can make this material highly efficient.

This is because; powders can be easily packed closely. In other words, Guo has embedded the milled nanoparticles in porous carbon material. The logic behind it makes an easier flow of electric current through carbon materials and the nanoparticles helps in the conduction of lithium ions. Until now Guo has kept this technique a little secret; however he hints that the technology is derived from his previous work.

Talking of rough figures, the milling of electrode material no doubt requires an additional process to be integrated in manufacturing; it however doubles the energy storage capacity as compared to an ordinary battery. So an approximate 10% increase in cost actually gives us more than what we can expect for.

Wuhe is a recent enterprise by Guo who founded it last year. The facility has a production capacity of 300 metric tonnes of electrode material per annum. So practically, around 30 million Lithium ion battery cells can be created using it. The facility is capable of making batteries for 500 electric cars. The technology is simple and can be used in a wide range of materials including Tesla and Chevrolet which were also until now limited. However, a few years down the line don’t be surprised if EVs take the gasoline car market.

Source: Eco-business