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How will lithium-ion batteries evolve in the future?Because batteries are expensive, electric cars are much more expensive than

The recent battery spontaneous combustion incidents involving Tesla and NiO have sparked widespread concern about the safety of lithium batteries. 18650 manufac...

Jan 30,2024 | Nancy

How will lithium-ion batteries evolve in the future?Because batteries are expensive, electric cars are much more expensive than

The recent battery spontaneous combustion incidents involving Tesla and NiO have sparked widespread concern about the safety of lithium batteries. 18650 manufacture As consumers, we desire a battery that is affordable, long-lasting, powerful, and safe. However, achieving all these qualities simultaneously goes against the laws of physics. Battery research is akin to balancing multiple factors, requiring constant trade-offs and adjustments between various dimensions. Altering one aspect often has a ripple effect on others.

I stumbled upon an article by Bill Gates on Linkedin, in which he discusses the profound impact of batteries on society. Concurrently, there is a rising effort among innovators and financial backers to produce improved batteries. On April 8, 2019, he shared a repost of his article "How We can achieve the Next Big Breakthrough in battery Technology," which includes up-to-date information. I have also provided a Chinese translation for your convenience. To read the original piece, click the link at the bottom of this post.

Bill Gates' LinkedIn content can be shared

In theory, electric cars will be quieter, cheaper, and cleaner than the corporate-owned planes in China today. Half of all commercial aircraft could be safely sucked into electric aircraft that can be recharged 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) at a time today, resulting in a 15% reduction in carbon emissions associated with global development aviation.

The same goes for electric cars. Basically, electric cars aren't just cleaner versions of their pollution-emitting Cousins. They're also better cars: the motors are quieter and respond faster to driver decisions. The cost of charging an electric car is far less than the cost of paying for the same amount of gas. Electric cars are cheaper to maintain since they have fewer moving parts.

Because batteries are expensive, electric cars are much more expensive than comparable gas-powered vehicles, so they aren't widespread yet. Furthermore, unless you drive a lot, the gas savings do not always offset the higher upfront costs. In a nutshell, electric cars are not cost-effective.

In the same way, current batteries cannot store enough energy to power an airliner. Fundamental breakthroughs are still required before battery technology becomes a reality.

Although battery-powered portable devices have changed our lives, if we can make batteries that are safer, more powerful, and have a higher energy density, those batteries are more likely to be destroyed. No natural laws prevent them from existing.

It is still unclear to scientists what exactly goes on inside these information devices, despite more than two centuries of closely related research since the invention of the first battery in 1799. It is known that there are three major issues students need businesses to address in order for batteries to once again make an impact on their lives: electricity, energy, and security.

Lithium-ion batteries come in a variety of sizes

The cathode of most lithium-ion batteries is graphite, but the cathode is made of a variety of materials, depending on the battery's purpose. Lithium-ion batteries have two electrodes: a cathode and an anode. You can see below how cathode materials impact battery performance in six different ways.

Challenges associated with energy

Generally, people use "energy" and "energy" interchangeably, but it is important to differentiate between them when it comes to batteries. Power is the rate at which energy is released.

In a short amount of time, a powerful battery can release a large amount of energy, sufficient to support the takeoff of a commercial jet and keep it flying at 1,000 kilometers altitude, especially when taking off. As a result, it's not just about storing a lot of energy, it's also about releasing it quickly.

The energy challenge itself requires us to understand what is actually inside commercial batteries. These studies may sound a bit stiff, but be patient. The new battery management technologies are often overstated due to the lack of knowledge about batteries among most people.

Currently, our most cutting-edge battery composition consists of lithium-ion. It is widely speculated among professionals that for the next ten years or possibly longer, no other substance will be capable of disrupting the lithium ions. These batteries contain two distinct electrodes (cathode and anode), as well as a separator (a substance that conducts ions rather than electrons in order to prevent short circuits), and an electrolyte (typically a liquid) which facilitates the movement of lithium ions between the electrodes. During the charging process, ions travel from the cathode to the anode; Conversely, when the battery is utilized, the ions move in the opposite direction.

Lithium-ion battery inside

A cathode on the left and an anode on the right are two slices of bread. Each slice of bread represents an electrode. Let's assume that the cathode is made up of nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) sheets - one of the best of its kind - and the anode is made up of graphite, which is basically laminated sheets or sheets of carbon atoms.

In the discharge state, the NMC bread is sandwiched between each slice of bread by lithium ions after the energy has been exhausted. During charging, the lithium ions are extracted from between the sheets and forced through the liquid electrolyte, with the separator acting as a checkpoint to ensure only lithium ions pass through the graphite layer. Once fully charged, the cathode layer holds no residual lithium ions and is neatly sandwiched between the graphite layers. As battery energy is used up, the lithium ions return to the cathode until none remain at the anode. Recharging is necessary at this point.

The energy capacity of a battery depends on how fast this process occurs. However, increasing speed isn't easy. When lithium ions are removed too fast from the cathode bread, defects can occur and the chip can eventually rupture. As a result, our smartphones, laptops, and electric cars last longer after charging and discharging. Each charge and discharge weakens the battery.

Numerous businesses are continuously seeking ways to address our societal issues. One potential solution involves substituting the current layered electrodes with more robust materials. For instance, Leclanché, a reputable Swiss company specializing in battery management for a century, is developing a significant technology utilizing a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode and a lithium titanate (LTO) anode. These data structures display superior capabilities in managing the flow of lithium ions within materials.

Leclanch e's batteries are not only used in their automated warehouse forklift, which can reach a full charge in just nine minutes. Unlike Tesla's superchargers, which can only charge a car's battery to 50 percent in 10 minutes, Leclanch e is also implementing their batteries in the UK for fast-charging electric vehicles. These batteries are strategically placed at charging stations where they gradually absorb electricity from the grid over an extended period until fully charged. This allows them to quickly transfer power to a connected car battery when needed. As the bus left, the charging station's batteries began recharging.

There is the possibility of fixing battery chemistry to boost its power, as Leclanche demonstrated. Despite this, no battery has yet been developed powerful enough to release the energy quickly enough for commercial aircraft to overcome gravity. Startups are developing small aircraft (which can seat up to 12 people). This type of aircraft can use battery-intensive or electric hybrid aircraft, which require relatively little power. The battery acts as a taxi in these aircraft, as it is difficult to lift jet fuel.

According to Venka Viswanathan, a battery expert at Carnegie Mellon University, the technological leap needed for an all-electric commercial aircraft could take decades.

Challenges related to energy

With a starting price of $35,000, Tesla's Model 3 is the company's most affordable car. It uses a 50 KWH battery and costs about $8,750, or 25 percent of the total price of the car.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the average time cost control for developing lithium-ion batteries in 2018 was about $175 / kWh, down from nearly $1,200 / kWh in 2010.

It has been estimated that electric cars will be cheaper to own and use once battery costs drop below $125 per kilowatt-hour in most of the world once battery costs fall below $125 per kilowatt-hour. Even so, EVs won't beat gasoline-powered cars in all segments of the market, such as long-haul trucks, which don't yet have an electric solution. People are beginning to like electric cars because, in most cases, they are more economical.

A battery can achieve this by increasing its energy density, putting more electricity into the pack without lowering its price. The cathode and anode of the battery could be made more dense to achieve this.

NMC811, the cathode with the highest energy density in commercial applications (each number representing the ratio of nickel, manganese, and cobalt in the mixture), has room for improvement. Its main limitation is a relatively short charge-discharge life cycle. However, industry experts have high hopes that ongoing research and development efforts will resolve these issues within five years. This could potentially increase the energy density of NMC811 batteries by 10% or more.

There has been a series of innovations over the past few decades that have driven cathode energy density higher and higher, and the anode has the greatest potential for energy density increases.

When compared to current cathodic protection material technologies, graphite has always been the dominant anode material because it is relatively inexpensive, reliable, and can distribute energy in a very high density. In comparison to other potential anode materials, such as silicon and lithium, it is quite weak.

As an example, silicon absorbs lithium ions more effectively than graphite, for example. Consequently, many battery companies are incorporating silicon into their anode designs, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed the company is already using silicon in its lithium-ion batteries.

The development of a silicon-based anode would be an even bigger step. Unfortunately, graphite is hard to implement because of its nature. When lithium ions are absorbed by graphite, its volume does not change much. Silicon, however, expands four times its original volume under the same conditions.

To accommodate the expansion, you cannot make the box bigger, which destroys the "fast ion conductor interface," or SEI, on the silicon anode.

As a protective layer, the SEI acts as a shield for the anode, similar to the way iron forms rust to protect itself from the elements: If you leave a freshly forged iron outside, it will rust slowly because of the oxygen in the air. As a result of the rust layer, the remaining iron does not suffer the same fate.

After the battery's first charge, the electrodes form their own "rust" layer, which is separated from the electrolyte by the SEI. In order to ensure that our nation's lithium-ion technology runs smoothly, the SEI prevents further knowledge about chemical reactions that consume electrodes.

With a silicon anode, however, the SEI is broken down every time a battery is used to power a device, and the SEI changes every time the battery is charged. Each charge consumes a small amount of silicon. The silicon eventually dissipates to the point where the battery can't function anymore.

Silicon Valley start-ups have been grappling with this problem for the past decade. Silanano, for instance, uses a nanoscale shell with many cavities to encapsulate silicon atoms. The silicon atoms expand inside the shell without destroying the SEI after each charge-discharge cycle, forming the SEI outside the shell. By 2020, the $350 million company expects its technology to power the devices.

On the other hand, Epix employs a special manufacturing technique that forces a 100% silicon anode to absorb less lithium, limiting its expansion and preventing the SEI from breaking. The company, which has investments from Intel and Qualcomm, expects its batteries to be in devices by 2020.

In spite of these trade-offs, silicon anodes cannot achieve the theoretically high energy density. However, both companies claim their anodes perform better than graphite anodes.

There is already a big market for batteries, and the market is growing. The money has attracted many entrepreneurs with more ideas. Even so, battery management startups have a higher failure rate than software companies, despite Chinese software development companies being known for their failure rates as well. Creating such materials as well as scientific innovation is not easy, which is why we are here.

In order to improve one performance, like energy density, battery chemists have to compromise another, like safety. This means that progress on all fronts is slow and fraught with challenges.

According to him, there are now three times as many battery scientists in the United States as there were a decade ago because more attention has been paid to MIT's Mingjiang problem. It is best to treat every claim about new batteries with skepticism given the challenges ahead, but the potential for batteries is still huge.

battery spontaneous requiring constant trade-offs

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