Week 13-19 May 2019
Welcome to the new edition of our Last Week In Batteries digest!
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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.
Chemists from the University of Tokyo have discovered that using oxygen redox-layered oxide (Na2RuO3) in a battery helps it self-repair and withstand more charging cycles. This could extend the durability and resilience of Li-ion and Na-ion batteries.
Impact areas: Li-ion and Na-ion battery durability
Volkswagen will produce its own batteries
Volkswagen intends to spend €1 billion on a battery plant in Germany to make batteries for its planned electric vehicles.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery supply chains
Molecular sieves boost hydrogen tank capacity
Materials scientists from Lancaster University have discovered a new material called Kubas Manganese Hydride-1 (or KMH-1), which can boost the capacity of hydrogen tanks by 4x times. With 4x times more hydrogen in the same volume, a hydrogen fuel-cell system can provide 4x the amount of energy. Alternatively, the tank size can be reduced while still holding the same amount of hydrogen as a conventional one, saving space. According to the researchers, “The cost of manufacturing our material is so low, and the energy density it can store is so much higher than a lithium ion battery, that we could see hydrogen fuel cell systems that cost five times less than lithium ion batteries as well as providing a much longer range – potentially enabling journeys up to around four or five times longer between fill-ups.” Happy days!
Impact areas: Hydrogen fuel cell system costs
Precise catalyst coating
Scientists from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Fritz Haber Institute Berlin have invented a method to apply a coating of catalyst nanoparticles with precise control. Electrodes coated with gold nanoparticles at just 11% coverage using the new approach showed "a reaction rate almost as high as that of electrodes completely covered with gold and solid gold electrodes." This technique can reduce the amount of catalysts needed to split water or to power fuel cells, which could bring down the costs of such systems.
Impact areas: Fuel cell system costs
Volvo signs battery supply agreement with CATL and LG Chem
Volvo has signed supply agreements with CATL and LG Chem to provide batteries for its upcoming electric vehicles.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery supply chains
Polymer coating improves NMC electrode
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered that coating particles of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode in Li-ion batteries with a polymer called PEDOT improves their durability. According to the researchers, with this coating, "NMC-containing batteries could either run at higher voltages — thus increasing their energy output — or have longer lifetimes, or both."
Impact areas: Li-ion battery performance and durability
Longer-lasting potassium-oxygen batteries
Engineers at the Ohio State University have designed a way to make potassium-oxygen batteries last for 125 charging cycles compared to just 10 cycles in previous designs. According to them, the cost of producing such a battery would be $44 per kilowatt hour, compared to $100 for lithium-ion batteries, making it viable for grid energy storage applications.
Impact areas: Potassium-oxygen battery performance, durability and cost
Review of potassium-ion battery technology
Scientists from the University of Wollongong have published a review of the potassium-ion battery technology, outlining current challenges and possible solutions.
Impact areas: Potassium-ion batteries
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