Li-Ion batteries for EVs and PHEVs are scaring some people

Basic RGBEV skeptics are among us! And one of the favorite arguments they use is »what  about the EV batteries?! Li-Ion-powered EVs and PHEVs pollute more than regular cars!«

Put your Li-Ion-powered mobile phone or mp3 player away for a moment and explore the basics of Li-Ion batteries life-cycle with us, let’s see if there's something to substantiate these doubts.

Structure of Li-Ion batteries

Batteries lose weight by going viral

Batteries lose weight by going viralCommonly found in seas, soils and animal intestines, bacteriophages may someday find a home in our clothes, cell phones and laptops. Actually a type of virus, bacteriophages act like microscopic hitmen and target only certain strains of bacteria while leaving plant and animal cells, like our own, alone. Researchers from MIT report progress in harnessing bacteriophages to make better batteries.

Chevy Volt capitalizes on Fisker Karma’s battery breakdown

Chevy Volt capitalizes on Fisker Karma’s battery breakdown Not more than a week ago, it felt as though Fisker had the car to compete with the likes of the Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster. With sporty luxurious designs and high performance plug-in technology, Fisker Automotive's  electric cars promised to utilize Henrik Fisker's BMW background to engineer top tier electric and hybrid cars. That was, however, before Fisker lost the power behind its electric engine.

Fisker announced today that it would be moving away from its anticipated battery manufacturer, Ener1 (parent company of EnerDel), because it could not meet Fisker's production requirements. In other words, Fisker doesn't have the battery to meet the specs it promised.

Eestor watch out! IBM is building a next gen battery too

Eestor watch out! IBM is building a next gen battery too The recent advent of electric and hybrid cars to mainstream consumers is driving an intense interest in battery technology. Eestor has secretively been working on an ultracapacitor battery it claims will eclipse current lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries. Though the company has built volumes of buzz by keeping the curtain low, IBM is stealing some thunder with its commitment to create a battery that will enable 500 miles of travel on single charge.

That’s right in line with claims Eestor has made for a long time, but IBM intends to research lithium-air technology with a project it’s calling the Battery 500. The reality is that gasoline and petroleum products still store far more energy than current battery technology, and IBM (like Eestor and many others) recognize that this is a pivotal business opportunity wrapped with some awesome green publicity.

Lithium-ion plane fires may actually benefit the US

Lithium-ion plane fires may actually benefit the USThe danger surrounding the shipment of lithium-ion batteries is causing many to rethink the lithium-ion craze that has blossomed with hybrid cars, cell phones and laptops. When first introduced, lithium-ion batteries returned impressive specs that challenged the conventional battery and opened a window of opportunity for a better, longer lasting battery. But was the winning battery chosen too soon?

In early August, the Energy Department made a major push for US companies to get involved with lithium-ion battery production. To do so, over $2.4 billion of federally funded grants were awarded to build manufacturing plants for batteries. Most of the money was set aside for car manufacturers and battery and component suppliers in the Midwest region (predominately Michigan and Indiana).

The Energy Department hoped to accelerate growth in the US auto industry and maintain Obama's goal of getting 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.

Japan leads the lithium-air charge, leaving US behind

Japan leads the lithium-air charge, leaving US behindAs the hybrid car craze accelerates, both by consumer demand and government backing, more companies and researchers are being advantageous of the primed hybrid car market by trying to gain battery supremacy. The latest improvement by a Japanese company, AIST, may push the envelope further with a viable lithium-air battery that cruises by the snags that others have been unable to surpass.

Lithium-air is a seductive battery that has no shortage of enthusiasts (including computer powerhouse IBM) who see the potential of a super-battery that generates energy by combining an abundant atmospheric gas, oxygen, with lithium metal. In turn, the battery produces an unmatched energy density and capacity--nearly ten times that of a lithium-ion battery. 

Eestor promises demo of its radical new battery in 2010

Eestor promises demo of its radical new battery in 2010 Eestor has shrouded itself in mystery, and if the promises it’s making about a new ultracapacitor battery in 2010 are true that certainly makes sense because other companies would kill for that sort of leap in efficiency. Zenn Motor Company has invested enough to earn a 10.7% ownership stake in Eestor with its latest payment at $700,000.

That infusion of cash arrived after an independent verification by Zenn Motor Company that a permittivity milestone was achieved. Confirmable details are scant but Eestor has convinced Zenn Motor company that its technology is real and will be demonstrated in 2010. Seeing an actual battery in action is another matter though and seems to be dependent on the ability to ramp up production leading up to full scale commercialization.

IBM’s lithium-air leaves lithium-ion and maybe EEStor behind

IBM’s lithium-air leaves lithium-ion and maybe EEStor behind Electric cars, like the Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster, needed a battery that would revolutionize consumers’ dependency on gas by creating an electric alternative. The result: the Volt and Tesla Roadster quickly decided on a lithium-ion battery that initially scored high marks from both industry leaders and consumers alike. That is, at least, before EEStor and lithium-air joined the competition.

Lithium-ion created a buzz among electric car enthusiasts because of its super-charged abilities (at that time) that blew the standard nickel and lead batteries out of the water and generated enough energy to power a vehicle; certainly, the low-maintenance, high voltage, high density, rapid recharge battery deserves its praise, but it simply cannot compete with the proposed specs of the EEStor and lithium-air batteries.

New super-battery patent punctures EEstor's veil of secrecy

AA Battery EEstor is a company focused on living out its infancy and childhood in complete secrecy. That’s a good plan considering how valuable its ultracapacitor battery will be, IF its claims are true. EEstor just loosened a chink in its aura of mystique though with approval of a new patent posted publicly online. Incidentally, the patent also makes EEstor seem just a bit more real.

The patent details out the process of screen printing various materials together to create an “electrical-energy-storage unit” according to the public record. Computer makers have used this method in the past to create chips on a microscopic scale. If EEstor follows the same process it could end up printing parts of its batteries.