Why Lithium Batteries Have Not Been Eliminated -Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment

Why Lithium Batteries Have Not Been Eliminated -Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment

On the evening of August 31, Beijing time, MIT Technology Review recently published an article saying that today we have not used a better energy storage device than the 40-year-old lithium-ion battery. Because the development of new batteries not only faces many technical challenges, but also a lot of financial support.

Earlier this year, Ellen Williams, head of the DOE's Advanced Research Program on Alternative Energy ("ARpA-E"), made headlines overnight. The reason is that she said in an interview with British media: "We have made a major breakthrough in the field of batteries."

While the more than 75 energy storage research projects supported by ARpA-E have yielded some promising results, no breakthrough has been made in producing small, low-cost energy storage devices.

A number of startups have come close to producing an energy storage device that is economical, safe, compact, and high-energy-density at a guaranteed cost of less than $100 per kilowatt-hour. However, if the price of energy storage equipment is controlled below 100 US dollars per kilowatt-hour, it will inevitably lead to galvanic effect (galvanic effect).

Galvanic corrosion effect refers to the local corrosion at the contact of dissimilar metals in the same medium due to the difference of corrosion potential. To overcome this problem, it is necessary to utilize available energy. While renewable energy sources such as solar and wind could make electric vehicles lighter and less expensive, these sources of energy are only possible when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.(Lithium - Ion Battery Equipment)

However, the commercialization of this new type of battery has not kept pace with the current shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Even TSLA CEO Elon Musk, who is confident in these new energy technologies, has to admit that current automakers have not made much progress in improving lithium-ion batteries.

In fact, many researchers agree that substantial progress in energy storage will require an entirely new chemical process and physical form. Only then can it surpass what lithium-ion batteries have achieved over the past decade in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and network-grade storage systems.

In May, the U.S. Department of Energy held a seminar on the topic "Beyond Li-ion Batteries." In fact, this is the ninth edition and aims to discuss the technical challenges faced in developing new energy storage devices.

Hu Qichao (QichaoHu), founder of SolidEnergySystems, a company spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed a new type of lithium metal battery. This new type of battery significantly increases the energy density of battery devices, far exceeding the energy density of current batteries.

He said: "During the development of a new battery system for more than ten years, the most important obstacle it encountered was: how to turn an idea into a product. This is even more difficult for batteries, because If you improve performance in one area, you can affect performance in another area. So there has to be a trade-off."

In addition, energy storage research faces the problem of multiplicity: there are many battery technologies, from foam batteries to fluid batteries to chemical batteries. Among these battery technologies, there is currently no clear winner. This leads to research dispersion and uncertainty.

According to LuxResearch, a research firm, startups working on next-generation batteries have received an average of only $40 million in funding over the past eight years. By contrast, TSLA will invest about $5 billion in its Giga plant, which makes lithium-ion batteries. What a huge investment gap is difficult to overcome.

Gerd Ceder, a professor of materials science at the University of California, Berkeley, said: "It would cost about $500 million to build a completed small production line. Automakers may have to make new battery purchase decisions before making purchase decisions. The system is tested for a few years. So if your company can only get $5 million a year in funding, it’s almost impossible to invest $500 million to build a factory to make new batteries.”

Even if new battery makers are eventually able to bring this new technology to market, they will face challenges such as scaling up production and finding buyers. This was the case with Leyden Energy and A123 Systems before, which, despite having new technology, failed due to insufficient funding and unmet demand. There are also two startups, Seeo and Sakti3, which were acquired cheaply before mass production.



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