Week 17-23 December 2018
Welcome to the second edition of our Last Week In Batteries digest!
Magnesium batteries featured prominently last week, if 2 out of 7 is of any significance.
A quick reminder:
We are publishing this weekly digest of developments in the battery space as a demonstration of what one can do with Avogadro One. Avogadro One allows capturing relevant news easily and quickly, among other things, saving you valuable time. If you want to know when you can use Avogadro One for your own research, please sign up to our mailing list here. We would also be happy to hear any feedback.
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.
Magnesium battery with organic electrode and chloride-free electrolyte
Researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America have done away with chloride electrolyte in magnesium batteries and replaced the molybdenum sulfide cathode with an organic one. The scientists report an improved performance of up to 243 watt hours per kilogram (Wh/kg), with power measured at up to 3.4 kilowatts per kilogram (kW/kg). The new battery was stable after 2,500 charge-discharge cycles. Compared to lithium, magnesium is more abundant and does not suffer from dendrites, promising longer battery life.
Impact areas: Magnesium battery energy density and durability
Oxygen extends the lifespan of NiMH batteries
Researchers from Stockholm University have discovered that adding oxygen to NiMH batteries improves their lifespan.
Impact areas: NiMH battery durability
Energy Harvesting Communications Using Dual Alternating Batteries
Rajshekhar Bhat Vishweshwar and his team study how to optimize energy use in energy-harvesting communications using 2 rechargeable batteries instead of one. Using simulations, the researchers conclude that “the optimal throughput in the dual-battery case is significantly higher than that in the single-battery case” even though the total battery capacity is the same in each scenario.
Impact areas: IoT, Sensors, Communications
Disorder promises to increase the capacity of magnesium batteries
Scientists from University College London and the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered that disordered magnesium chromium oxide (MgCr2O4) performed better than ordered crystals when used in magnesium battery electrodes. Previously, disordered materials were not considered for electrodes due to the belief that they don’t perform well.
Impact areas: Magnesium battery energy density
While not a battery technology news per se, this is an interesting development. Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary t0 (tZERO) will be developing a cobalt-backed blockchain token. The goal is to simplify identifying, purchasing and tracking the supply of cobalt. Cobalt is a key metal for the Li-Ion battery industry, while a large part is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where child labor and unsafe practices abound.
Impact areas: Cobalt and Li-Ion battery supply chains
Global EV charging standard
Two EV industry groups, CHAdeMO (Japan) and the China Electricity Council, are working on a global ultrafast-charging protocol for electric vehicles (EVs) and are calling on others to join in. A single charging protocol could speed up the adoption of EVs and enable economies of scale. However, settling on a single standard might be difficult due to several proprietary protocols already in use.
Impact areas: EV adoption, Infrastructure, Battery demand
24M to build a factory
24M, a battery startup, announced new funding of $22 million and plans to build a new factory in 2019. The company intends to begin production in 2020, manufacturing semisolid Li-Ion batteries with improved energy densities compared to conventional Li-Ion batteries (280-300 Wh/kg versus 250 Wh/kg).
Impact areas: Li-Ion battery capacity, EV range