Battery maker claims to have increased energy capacity by a factor of 100

Battery maker claims to have increased energy capacity by a factor of 100
Electric car (Image: YouTube screen grab)

A Japanese battery maker says it has come with a battery that will have 100 times the capacity of its current battery, due to radically higher energy density.

Such increases in energy density are needed for electric cars and other battery-powered devices. Most electric cars have to be recharged after 200 miles or less of driving, because of limits on how much energy their batteries can store. That’s even with a big battery that takes up a lot of space in the car. As Axlewise explains, “The average EV battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Some batteries weigh more than 2,000 pounds. The heaviest EV battery is the Hummer EV battery, which weighs around 2,923 pounds.” These big batteries make electric vehicles a lot heavier. One study found that electric vehicles place more than twice as much stress on roads as gas-powered vehicles. That means more cracks in the pavement and more deadly collisions.

But this technological advance will allow batteries to shrink yet store more energy. Initially, the more advanced technology will be used in wireless headphones and smartwatches. But eventually, it might be used in electric vehicles, too (although those batteries won’t be cheap):

Japan’s TDK is claiming a breakthrough in materials used in its small solid-state batteries…predicting significant performance increases for devices from wireless headphones to smartwatches.

The new material provides an energy density—the amount that can be squeezed into a given space—of 1,000 watt-hours per liter, which is about 100 times greater than TDK’s current battery in mass production. Since TDK introduced it in 2020, competitors have moved forward, developing small solid-state batteries that offer 50 Wh/l, while rechargeable coin batteries using traditional liquid electrolytes offer about 400 Wh/l, according to the group….The batteries set to be produced will be made of an all-ceramic material, with oxide-based solid electrolyte and lithium alloy anodes. The high capability of the battery to store electrical charge, TDK said, would allow for smaller device sizes and longer operating times, while the oxide offered a high degree of stability and thus safety. The battery technology is designed to be used in smaller-sized cells, replacing existing coin-shaped batteries found in watches and other small electronics.

The breakthrough is the latest step forward for a technology industry experts think can revolutionize energy storage, but which faces significant obstacles on the path to mass production, particularly at larger battery sizes.

Solid-state batteries are safer, lighter and potentially cheaper and offer longer performance and faster charging than current batteries relying on liquid electrolytes. Breakthroughs in consumer electronics have filtered through to electric vehicles, although the dominant battery chemistries for the two categories now differ substantially.

The ceramic material used by TDK means that larger-sized batteries would be more fragile, meaning the technical challenge of making batteries for cars or even smartphones will not be surmounted in the foreseeable future, according to the company….Industry experts believe the most significant use case for solid-state batteries could be in electric cars by enabling greater driving range. Japanese companies are in the vanguard of a push to commercialize the technology: Toyota is aiming for as early as 2027, Nissan the year after and Honda by the end of the decade.

Even if batteries could shrink, electric vehicles still face big obstacles to getting their batteries charged, if the number of electric vehicles outstrips the number of EV fueling stations, which is likely to happen due to federal mandates phasing out gas-powered vehicles. So far, the Biden administration’s $7.5 billion investment in EV fueling stations has resulted in only 7 such stations being built over a 2-year period, notes the Washington Post.

The Biden administration has been comically incompetent in getting such stations built. Many more such stations will be needed soon, because the Biden administration has issued a rule mandating that most cars be electric by 2032. CNBC says that when “half of all new cars sold in the U.S.” are electric vehicles, that could “put a major strain on our nation’s electric grid, an aging system built for a world that runs on fossil fuels.”

As Real Clear Energy points out, the infrastructure needed for “EV fueling stations is greater than it is for” gas stations. Because EV charging takes longer than filling a gas tank, “long refueling times will translate into long lines at EV fueling stations as well as the need for five to 10 times more charging ports than fuel pumps.” Moreover, EV fueling stations will have “staggering requirements for grid infrastructure upgrades. Today roadside fuel stations have the electric demand of a 7-Eleven; but convert those to EV fueling station and every one of them will have the electric demand of a steel mill – and highways will need thousands of them.”

Right now, lots of mines are needed to produce the minerals used in car batteries, but additional mines needed to supply minerals for growing numbers of electric cars have not opened yet, and regulations may delay mines from opening in many areas where such minerals exist. Compared to building and fueling a gasoline-powered car for a ten year period, an electric vehicle currently “entails a ten-fold greater extraction and handling of materials from the earth, and far, far more acreage of land disturbed and, unfortunately, often polluted….the mines operating and planned can’t supply even a small fraction of the 400% to 7000% increase in demand for minerals that will be needed within a decade to meet the [electric vehicle mandate]. What’s relevant is that the IEA [International Energy Agency] has told us we’ll need hundreds of new mega-mines, and that it takes 10 to 16 years to find, plan and open a new mine.”

Since most of these mines will not open in the next decade, the minerals needed for electric car batteries will be in increasingly short supply as 2032 approaches, causing price spikes for car batteries, which typically cost up to $20,000 in 2022. The Guardian says that a “transition to electric vehicles” in the U.S. “could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing needless water shortages…and ecosystem destruction.”

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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