Issue 1 (2019)
Week 31 December 2018 - 6 January 2019
Welcome to the first edition of the Last Week In Batteries digest in 2019! The most exciting news this week is about startups planning to manufacture Li-Ion batteries with 20%-70% higher capacities afforded by silicon in the anode. Exciting!
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This is a very basic review of last week's events relevant to the battery and fuel cell industries. We do not pretend to be experts in this space but as investors we find such an overview helpful. The digest is intentionally very brief and dry and is intended as a demonstration rather as an end product. We'd love to hear what tools/software/platforms you use to stay abreast of the events in your industries of interest. Please answer our anonymous questionnaire.
Study of solid electrolyte interphase in Li-Ion batteries
Researchers from Stanford, MIT and Berkley are looking into the solid-electrolyte interphase, which reduces the life of Li-Ion batteries. As the researchers put it, "A deeper understanding of SEI growth – specifically, its dependence on electrochemical cycling conditions – could unlock dramatic improvements in lithium-ion battery lifetime."
Impact areas: Li-Ion battery durability
Silicon-boosted Li-Ion batteries are coming
IEEE Spectrum writes that at least two startups are planning to launch improved versions of the Li-Ion battery in 2019. Both have figured out how to use silicon in the battery anode, which significantly boosts the capacity. The two startups are Sila and Enovix. Both companies promise to improve capacity by as much as 20-30% at the minimum, all the way up to a 70% increase versus existing Li-Ion batteries.
Impact areas: Li-Ion battery capacity
A study of doping effects on paired metal catalysts
Researchers from the University of Queensland published a study of the effect of N-doped graphene on hydrogen evolution reaction. They conclude that their findings suggest "a means through which transition metals can be modified to make more effective and sustainable fuel cell catalysts."
Impact areas: Fuel cells
Explanation of anti-doping
An international team of researchers offers "a simple explanation" of electron anti-doping observed in various materials, which "promises new directions of doping-induced multiple functionalities such as fuel cells, electric field sensors, Li-ion battery materials."
Impact areas: Fuel cells and Li-Ion batteries
Review of nanocarbons for electrochemical energy conversion and storage
A team of researchers from the University of Belgrade and Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts have published a 10-year review of nanocarbons derived from polymers for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. Their goal is "to derive general guidelines for further development of new materials with improved performances."
Impact areas: New fuel cell and battery materials
2D gallium nitride as battery anode in Li-Ion and Na-Ion batteries
Researchers from the Hebei University of Technology propose 2D GaN as an anode candidate for Li-Ion and Na-Ion batteries. According to them, "Comparing with known 2D anode materials with similar scale of ion diffusion barriers, the GaN monolayer almost possesses the highest Li/Na storage capacity discovered to date."
Impact areas: Li-Ion & Na-Ion battery capacity