Three Battery Technologies that Could Power the Future

Three Battery Technologies that Could Power the Future
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Three Battery Technologies that Could Power the Future

At M+H Power we continually review new battery technologies and test / assess the appropriate time to add new battery technology to our portfolio. There are several reasons why new technologies may be delayed inclusion including commercial price points, product development - experimental, market size of opportunity etc. 

Currently, M+H Power are a strong advocate for the established Lithium-Ion battery technology, we currently have two brands in our range namely brands GenZ and Soluna. 

The following article shares the current thinking on new battery possibilities. Our approach at M+H Power is to only launch when new products are commercially viable and extensive tested for reliability and durability. 

NEW GENERATION LITHIUM-ION (LI-ION) BATTERY TECHNOLOGY

What is it?

In lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, the energy storage and release are provided by the back-and-forth movement of lithium ions from the positive to the negative electrode via the electrolyte. In this technology, the positive electrode acts as the initial lithium source and the negative electrode as the host for lithium. There are several chemistries of Li-ion batteries as the result of decades of material selection and optimization, namely:

  • Lithiated metal oxides or phosphates are the most common material used at present for positive materials in battery componentry. Soluna is M+H Power preferred partner for Lithium-Ion battery in this sector.
  • Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries are a second variety of Li-ion battery. M+H Power have partnered with GenZ in this sector of the market.
  • Graphite, but also graphite/silicon or lithiated titanium oxides are also another chemistry used as negative materials. 

What are it's advantages?

Today, amongst all the state-of-the-art storage technologies, Li-ion battery technology allows the highest level of energy density. Performances such as fast charge or temperature operating window (-50°C up to 125°C) can be fine-tuned by the large choice of cell design and chemistries. Furthermore, Li-ion batteries display additional advantages such as very low self-discharge and very long lifetime and cycling performances, typically thousands of charging/discharging cycles. 

LITHIUM-SULPHUR (Li-S) BATTERY TECHNOLOGY

What is it?

In Li-ion batteries, the lithium ions are stored in active materials acting as stable host structures during charge and discharge. While in lithium-Sulphur (Li-S) batteries, there are no host structures. While discharging, the lithium anode is consumed and sulphur transformed into a variety of chemical compounds; during charging, the reverse process takes place. 

What are it's advantages?

A Li-S battery uses very light active materials: sulphur in the positive electrode and metallic lithium as the negative electrode. Therefore, its theoretical energy density is extraordinarily high: four times greater than that of Li-ion. This chemistry makes it a good fit for the aviation and space industries. 

When can we expect it?

Major technology barriers have already been overcome and the maturity level is progressing very quickly towards full scale prototypes. 
For applications requiring long battery life, this technology is expected to reach the market just after solid-state Li-ion. 

SOLID-STATE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY TECHNOLOGY 

What is it?

Solid-state batteries represent a paradigm shift in terms of battery technology. In modern Li-ion batteries, ions move from one electrode to another across the liquid electrolyte (also called ionic conductivity). In all-solid-state batteries, the liquid electrolyte is replaced by a solid compound which nevertheless allows lithium ions to migrate within it. This concept is far from new, but over the past 10 years – thanks to intensive worldwide research – new families of solid electrolytes have been discovered with very high ionic conductivity, similar to liquid electrolyte, allowing this particular technological barrier to be overcome.

Today, efforts focus on two main material types: polymers and inorganic compounds, aiming the synergy of the physico-chemical properties such as processability, stability and conductivity. 

What are it's advantages?

The first huge advantage is a marked improvement in safety at cell and battery levels: solid electrolytes are non-flammable when heated, unlike their liquid counterparts. 

Second, it permits the use of innovative, high-voltage high-capacity materials, enabling denser, lighter batteries with better shelf-life as a result of reduced self-discharge. Moreover, at system level, it will bring additional advantages such as simplified mechanics as well as thermal and safety management.

As the batteries can exhibit a high power-to-weight ratio, they may be ideal for applications such as electric vehicles. 

When can we expect it?

Several kinds of all-solid-state batteries are likely to come to market as technological progress continues. The first will be solid-state batteries with graphite-based anodes, bringing improved energy performance and safety. In time, lighter solid-state battery technologies using a metallic lithium anode should become commercially available.

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