Norwegian researchers hit silicon jackpot for top battery solution

Norwegian researchers hit silicon jackpot for top battery  solution
Credit: Institutt for energiteknikk

Steve Hanley certainly wrote what we are all thinking—groan, not another story about a battery "breakthrough." So many blares from a trumpet begin to fall on deaf ears, but the bleats go on. So what and who are we to take very seriously?

Well, we need to continue paying attention to claims because is ongoing and scientists want better solutions. "CleanTechnica readers sometimes tire of all the stories about new breakthroughs in technology—it seems like there is at least one every week—but that is only because there is so much news to report about," Hanley said.

Hanley remarked that "you can almost feel the pace of development in battery accelerating day by day if not moment by moment."

On to the latest buzz in batteries. Has a corner been reached and turned? Can we consider a jackpot hit in a way to stabilize silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries? As the news stories go, battery researchers at the Department of Energy Technology (IFE) have solved a challenge facing scientists worldwide .

IFE's battery researchers in Norway are talking in terms of revolutionized range and lifespan as they announce that a way has been achieved to put in silicon as a replacement for the graphite used in anodes of lithium ion batteries. The group thinks they found the X factor regarding batteries.

They are boasting over a solution that allows for far better batteries with higher capacity. Numbers? Business Insider Nordic said the Norwegian researchers found a way to improve the capacity of conventional batteries by 300-500%.

Hanley clarified what the technical hurdle which they knocked down.

"Pure silicon has ten times more capacity than graphite but it loses capacity faster than graphite. The researchers have found a way to mix silicon with other elements to create an anode that is stable and long lasting and which has three to five times higher capacity than a conventional graphite anode."

Research director Arve Holt. who earned a PhD from the University of Oslo, built up the institute's solar cell processing laboratory and the solar cell characterization laboratory. His specialty is significant as related to the battery research. Holt and colleagues underwent several years of targeted research and experimental trials with nanoparticles, including silicon, in IFE's laboratories, at Kjeller in Norway.

The IEF reports that "research results show that with the new IFE-developed technology, it can achieve three to five times the charge capacity of the negative electrode (anode) as with today's common graphite technology."

Are you thinking what this means in terms of your daily life?

Think about mobile phones that do not need to be charged for days or think about range vis a vis . Hanley reported that one of the claims for this discovery is that it will lead to batteries that can power an electric car for 600 miles or more.

Business Insider Nordic reminded readers of the potential impact, too, on medical implants, gadgets, appliances and machines using lithium ion batteries.

All in all, said Business Insider Nordic, "Ramping up from lab testing to an industrial setting hopefully means electric cars, smartphones and implants will soon get an enormous performance boost soon."

What's next? IFE said it is ready to take the research into the marketplace. IFE is working on patenting the technology.

"The Institute will work in parallel with several Norwegian and international companies to test the new battery.

The Department of Energy Technology (IFE) is an independent research foundation; one of its better known tasks is managing the Halden Project, which is OECD's largest and longest collaborative project on reactor safety.


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Jul 16, 2018
Excellent! But now for the million dollar question: When will we see it available for commercial use ?

Jul 16, 2018
Since they are patenting it right now it'll be 3-5 years until the first products with this will come out (and these products will not be cars...phones more likely).
If this pans out and doesn't have any other weaknesses (e.g. temperature, charging speed or vibration related drawbacks) then maybe we'll see it in cars within 7-10 years.

Since range is already no longer an issue for electric cars it might make them cheaper (as you can now build cars with smaller batteries)

The really big opportunity, here, is to push batteries into new areas like medium sized planes for national flights


Jul 16, 2018
Helo "But now for the million dollar question." There are several of those to be asked. For example - according to the graph - the new anode will get close to 4X the energy density of current graphite. Does this mean we could take a Tesla model 3, and give it a 1,000 mile battery? If you drive approx. 1,000 miles a month - would you just charge up once a month? What would the decay rate show based on different charging schedules. Their graph only goes up to 150 cycles. What will it look like after 200, or 500 cycles. Does time affect the decay rate?

But definitely very exciting in terms of possibilities. Sure hope it holds up...

Jul 16, 2018
This is not even in a scientific journal but a trade publication and press release:

'The professor emphasizes that she does not know any details of the project other than those mentioned in the press release.

"As I understand, technology will provide batteries with 10-20 percent higher energy than today's batteries," says Svensson.'

https://www.bt.no...kkevidde

Jul 16, 2018
" Does this mean we could take a Tesla model 3, and give it a 1,000 mile battery?"

Probably not. Silicon is a bit heavier than graphite so the battery should be heavier. Silicon isn't yet in widespread factory use, either, so it will - at first - be more expensive. In any case car batteries aren't designed according to range but according to: "at what range will people buy it" (this approach is called designing to the "minimum viable product")

Or to put it another way: if people will buy a car with 400miles range - unless there is a large, potential customer base that will NOT buy the 400 mile range model but WOULD buy a 1000 miles range model at a significantly higher price - then car makers will not put a 1000 miles range battery in their car.

(It's a bit like putting a 1000hp motor in a regular sedan. Car manufacturers could do it, but there's no profit in it)

Jul 16, 2018
Both of you making good points, astonishing how long it takes to get to commercial use given after 10 years this technology will be outdated, then its another 10 years for the latest tech to be commercialized, anyone ever lived to 300 years ? :D

Jul 16, 2018
Current tech puts a light single engine training aircraft aloft for about an hour. Trading off the slightly heavier weight of silicon (AW=28) over carbon (AW=12), where the anode is used against a Lithium (AW=6) cathode in a battery, we see that a battery of about the same weight as the current one in use would likely provide about 2 to 3 times as much flight time. That is sufficient enough to use it.

Jul 16, 2018
Current tech puts a light single engine training aircraft aloft for about an hour. Trading off the heavier weight of silicon (AW=28) over carbon (AW=12), where the anode is used against a Lithium (AW=6) cathode in a battery, we see that a battery of about the same weight as the current one in use would likely provide about 2 to 3 times as much flight time. That is sufficient enough to use it.

Aircraft fuel costs about $5/gallon and burns at the rate of 9 to 11 gallons per hour at 150 mph in many small planes. These planes usually fly about 450 miles maximum per full fuel load of 50 gallons (6 lbs/gal = 300 lbs fuel). The Lycoming O-360 (180 HP) gas engine is minimum 285 lbs dry (no oil, carb, oil cooler, etc so add 65 lbs). The 360 HP electric motor is about 100 lbs. That leaves 450 lbs for the battery.

Clearly the electric is cheaper to run, and the weights will work out nearly as well.

Jul 16, 2018
One of the big problems with most battery technologies is ESR, which is (essentially) a battery's ability to produce high currents. You can buy LiPO cells that have a lot of capacity, yet can't put out the high currents required by cars and other electric vehicles (i.e. drones, hoverboards). If you change the chemistry to get higher currents, you lose capacity.
Cell phones don't need high output current cells, cars and drones do. It will be interesting to see where this new technology sits on the capacity vs. "C" (output current) rating scale.

Jul 17, 2018
" Does this mean we could take a Tesla model 3, and give it a 1,000 mile battery?"


You have to remember that about a third of the mass and volume of the battery is packaging, shielding and support structures. Cooling pipes etc.

And the performance of the anode must be matched at the cathode or else the improvement goes to waste. All in all, getting twice the charge density out of the half-cell, assuming that you can then use half the materials there in terms of volume and mass, would result in about 20% improvement in battery performance.

Jul 17, 2018
"One of the big problems with most battery technologies is ESR, which is (essentially) a battery's ability to produce high currents. You can buy LiPO cells that have a lot of capacity, yet can't put out the high currents required by cars and other electric vehicles (i.e. drones, hoverboards). If you change the chemistry to get higher currents, you lose capacity.
Cell phones don't need high output current cells, cars and drones do. It will be interesting to see where this new technology sits on the capacity vs. "C" (output current) rating scale"

C rating on lipo's have increased dramatically the past 4 years and is getting even better as we speak, don't think it should be of much concern.

Jul 17, 2018
Eika
You have to remember that about a third of the mass and volume of the battery is packaging, shielding and support structures
That in itself should not affect the price of the battery much - you will have less support structure per Kg, as the energy density will be greater. The point I was making is that a development like this leaves a million questions - and it will be interesting to see the answers unfold. I agree with Antialias that for several reasons - we will probably not see a 1,000 mile model 3. The range, and charging issues will all unfold in time. I think your 20% estimate is pessimistic. Perhaps they will shrink the the anode, increase the cathode - and come up with a compromise. Interesting article here on Tesla batteries. One model S has had to have batteries replaced twice in 400k miles. One Model X on original batteries - 10% degradation in 300k miles https://techxplor...ion.html

Jul 29, 2018
"CleanTechnica readers sometimes tire of all the stories about new breakthroughs in battery technology—it seems like there is at least one every week—but that is only because there is so much news to report about," Hanley said.

OK, that's not what we're tiring of. What is tiring is the number of BS 'developments' that are only announced to entice suckers into investing capital into new so-called 'scientific breakthroughs'. Lets be real here. 'Scientists' need to make a living too, and research is better funded with better marketing,(BS developments that never work or cost too much to be feasible.)

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