The New Battery Technologies and Opportunities

The New Battery Technologies and Opportunities

By Kunwer Sachdev

With the immediate and critical need to move to alternative sources of energy worldwide, battery technology is being explored massively. As an alternative, it can support the de-carbonization of the transportation sector. It can evolve from the current lithium-ion battery to the succeeding generation to all-solid-state batteries. It will bring an improved energy density, safety, battery lifespan, and a definite cost reduction. The recent growth in the battery market has led to further improvements in technology and numerous options too. Battery manufacturers are constantly experimenting to create products that are cost-effective, lighter, and extra powerful.

Here’s a quick look at the new-age battery technologies that are the next big step in the transformation of energy:

Lithium batteries

Kunwer Sachdev - Entrepreneur and Innovator, Founder - Su Kam Power Systems

Kunwer Sachdev – Entrepreneur and Innovator, Founder – Su Kam Power Systems

One of the most popular batteries that are at the heart of nearly every electric vehicle. Owing to their high energy per unit mass relative to other electrical energy storage systems. These also offer high energy efficiency, good high-temperature performance, a very long lifetime, cycling performance, and low self-discharge. Most elements of Lithium batteries can be recycled therefore, the advanced version of the lithium batteries is expected to be deployed before the first generation of solid-state batteries. It will be ideal for applications such as being the energy storage system for renewable and transportation.

It must be pointed out that for any kind of battery testing to be done, we need a minimum experience of a decade, which the Lithium variants have crossed therefore, the next battery with Lithium will be much more acceptable.

Lithium-Sulfur batteries

Made of Sulfur and metallic lithium, these batteries make an energy density that is four times lithium-ion batteries –  a perfect product used in aviation due to its long life and high energy. These are as good as solid-state lithium-ion batteries because of their superior gravimetric energy density. As the technology is relatively new, at the prototype stage, no major drawbacks have been noted yet. Lithium-sulpur batteries are lighter and cheaper, and possibly the next generation of power cells that we could be used in EVs. Lithium-Sulfur batteries can store more energy than a battery using current lithium technology.

Solid-State batteries

The Solid-state battery is revolutionary in itself. It will be the shining armor for the EVs, as it reduces the cost of the batteries and make living with a plug-in car just like an internal combustion engine (ICE), only better. I feel Solid-state batteries will be the future and a game-changer for EVs. These batteries promise fast charging and a running range of the car without recharging is good enough to elude the ICE cars on the fast lane of highways and the long-distance race to the summer sun. The solid-state batteries are potentially safer, with higher energy densities. Also, with the cells getting smaller, the vehicle gets lightweight and can accommodate more people. Solid-state batteries bring down the cost-per-kilowatt-hour, which is expected to speed up the adoption of battery electric vehicles in the coming days. Solid-state batteries are likely to be used widely in battery EVs from the next decade. This will be a revolutionary shift.

With the advancements in technology, there are many innovations that we will all get to experience like – the NanoBolt Lithium Tungsten batteries, Zinc-Manganese Oxide batteries, Organosilicon electrolyte batteries, Gold nanowire gel electrolyte batteries to name a few.

NanoBolt Lithium Tungsten batteries give a layered structure that offers more surface area for ion transfer. The layers of nanotubes and different elements create a web structure inside of the battery that works with high efficiency. One of the advantages is the faster transfer of energy across the batteries. It also allows for the batteries to hold a greater charge than other designs – definitely, the technology of the future, as the multi-layered nanotubes can be cut to work in any size of lithium-ion battery.

Zinc-manganese oxide batteries already exist in the market but very soon we will have rechargeable ones. They are easy to use, much safer, and will work best for large power networks.

Organosilicon electrolyte batteries are an improved version of Lithium-ion batteries. Organosilicon electrolyte solvent stabilizes the elements involved in the electron and ion transfer inside the battery. An efficient and safer option to use, this type might also be used effectively in solid-state electrolyte batteries, combining the advantages of both technologies.

As gels are not as combustible as liquids, Gold nanowires were covered with Manganese-Dioxide, then covered with electrolyte gel. The gel interacts with the metal oxide coating to prevent it from corrosion.  The electrode is tested up to 200,000 times within a three-month time frame. The findings reveal that they did not detect any loss of nano-cell capacity, nor was there any breakage. Hence, Gold nanowire gel electrolyte batteries are a good option.

With so much on the anvil and so much already available, I am optimistic that there will be further innovations and the world will adopt clean, cost-effective, and environment-conscious power solutions to reduce carbon footprint.

The author, Kunwer Sachdev is a veteran industry expert, and founder of Sukam, among other firms.  

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