The energy storage technology company BioSolar has claimed a breakthrough in the field of lithium-ion batteries, according to a recent press release.
To be more specific, the company has claimed that a technology that it’s currently developing can significantly expand the life, increase the energy capacity, and lower the costs associated with lithium-ion batteries.
According to the BioSolar (based on internal analyses), a battery model built using the company’s new technology could double the range of a Tesla electric vehicle (EV) while costing roughly 4 times less than its current battery. As well, it could reportedly improve the lifespan of the battery and improve charging times. The company thinks that the technology could allow for a $100/kilowatt-hour milestone to be crossed — potentially leading to far greater EV sales numbers. (Note that it’s widely assumed Tesla’s battery packs cost well under $400/kWh — closer to $200/kWh or $300/kWh — so that makes the “4 times less” claim quite questionable.)
BioSolar’s CEO, David Lee, recently stated:
A battery contains two major parts, a cathode and an anode, that function together as the positive and negative sides. Today’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery is limited by the storage capacity of its cathode, while the anode can store much more. Inspired by nature, we are developing a novel cathode based on inexpensive conductive polymers and organic materials that can fully utilize the storage capacity of conventional anodes. By integrating our high capacity, high power and low-cost cathode with conventional anodes, battery manufacturers can create a super lithium-ion battery that can double the range of a Tesla, power an iPhone for 2 days straight, or store daytime solar energy for nighttime use.
BioSolar’s novel high capacity cathode is engineered from a polymer, similar to that of low cost plastics and can hold 2 electrons for each molecular unit. Instead of conventional cathodes that use lithium-ion intercalation chemistry, which is inherently slow, the company’s technology exploits the fast redox-reaction properties of polymers to enable rapid charge and discharge.
Hmm…. Those certainly are BOLD claims, aren’t they? Even for a battery company, they seem to be quite “optimistic” claims to my eyes. Perhaps there’s some truth to them, though? We’ll find out eventually I suppose.
The company is currently supporting a research program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that’s working to further develop the technology.
Images by BioSolar