Week 18-24 February 2019
Welcome to the third edition of our Last Week In Batteries digest! Purdue University is on a roll!
This weekly digest of developments in the battery space is intended as a demonstration of what one can do with Avogadro One. Avogadro One allows capturing relevant news easily and quickly, 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.
Battery storage is becoming cheaper than gas-fired power plants
A study suggests that Li-ion batteries are becoming more economical for utilities to handle peak power demand than building gas-fired power plants.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery demand, Utility-scale power storage
New insight into ionic ceramics
Purdue University researchers have published a study into the structure of ionic ceramics - materials used in fuel cells and batteries. The new data promises to help engineers develop battery and fuel cell materials that "hold a charge longer and can be charged faster than now possible." Other benefits suggested by the researchers are lighter weight and better safety.
Impact areas: Fuel cell and battery performance and safety
Scheduling model for renewable energy microgrids
Scientists from the University of California San Diego are proposing a model to schedule power flows between the grid and microgrids with renewable energy generation and battery storage. The goal is "to avoid over-conservatism in power scheduling while guaranteeing robustness against uncertainties."
Impact areas: Microgrid-scale energy storage, Battery demand
Optimizing catalyst size
Purdue University researchers have developed a method to calculate the exact amount of catalyst required for optimal performance in fuel cells. They report "that the method can increase catalyst activity by 10 to 50 times, using 90 percent less of the metal than what is currently used in fuel cell electrodes." Considering that expensive platinum is typically used as catalyst in fuel cells, this finding promises to reduce the cost of fuel cells.
Impact areas: Fuel cell costs
Reinforcing silicon anodes in Li-ion batteries
Materials scientists from Drexel University have designed a method to prevent silicon anodes in Li-ion batteries from expanding. Silicon can store much more energy than carbon in Li-ion batteries, but can expand and damage the battery. The researchers have mixed silicon with MXene sheets to prevent such expansion, reporting that the experimental anodes "showed higher lithium-ion capacity than current graphite or silicon-carbon anodes used in Li-ion batteries and superior conductivity — on the order of 100 to 1,000 times higher than conventional silicon anodes." MXenes are a new class of ceramic materials discovered in 2011.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery capacity and durability
Study of VOCl electronic structure
Researchers from the University of Bayreuth and Linkoping University have studied the electronic and magnetic properties of VOCl, a promising material for Chlorine-based rechargeable batteries. They conclude that any study of VOCl and similar materials for battery applications must take into account their magnetic properties. This could help materials scientists save time when looking into this direction of battery materials research.
Impact areas: Metal oxychloride batteries
France and Germany are setting up a car battery consortium
France and Germany are planning to invest a combined €1.7 billion into a EU-based car battery manufacturing operation to compete with Chinese and Korean companies. EV batteries are seemingly becoming a high-priority strategic product for Western economies.
Impact areas: Battery supply chains
X-ray shows how Li-ion batteries work
University of Delaware researchers are using X-ray scanning to understand how Li-ion batteries behave during operation. This should help scientists understand the underlying processes and come up with better battery designs.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery performance and safety
Study of iron-based hydrogen splitting
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory chemists have described how iron mediates the splitting of hydrogen molecules. They believe that the new data can help scientists develop new catalysts for fuel cells.
Impact areas: Fuel cell catalysts
Simple model predicts the lifetime of Li-ion batteries
Researchers from ABB Switzerland Ltd. report that battery "capacity follows a unique master curve, for several cell types aged under various different conditions." They suggest that the useful life of Li-ion batteries can be predicted using this simple model, which can be useful for managing energy storage systems and in other applications where predicting the useful life of a battery is required.
Impact areas: Li-ion battery management
If you're finding this blog useful, please consider answering our questionnaire to help us understand how you manage the information load in your daily life (work and leisure).