Published on June 30th, 2015 | by Nicholas Brown


Samsung Dramatically Increases Battery Capacity (Nearly Doubles It)

June 30th, 2015 by  

Originally published on Kompulsa.

Samsung researchers have developed a new technology that enables them to coat silicon battery cathodes with high crystal graphene. This means that they can now virtually double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries! This energy density increase could almost double the range of electric vehicles without adding a single pound of weight. This could also double the electric-mode range of plug-in hybrid cars, significantly reducing reliance on their built-in gasoline engines.

Younicos 3

Samsung lithium-ion batteries at a Younicos facility in Germany.

Of course, this could greatly benefit Samsung as a smartphone manufacturer as well. Everyone would appreciate longer smartphone battery life, and many want it badly. The use of silicon to dramatically increase lithium-ion battery capacity is nothing new, but past attempts have yielded unreliable batteries because silicon is too brittle. Silicon nanowires proved to be more dependable, but even they were too brittle.

As Cho Jin-young from BusinessKorea said:

Currently, the development of high-capacity battery materials has been mostly done in the United States. In particular, the research is active on silicon as a substitute material capable of raising the capacity more than 10 times that of the graphite currently used as an existing cathode material. There is, however, still the technological problem of the shortening the battery life by repeated charging and discharging.

Researchers have been trying so hard to find ways around this problem because silicon electrodes have been proven to increase lithium-ion battery capacity (per kg) by up to 10 times even over a decade ago. That translates to an energy density of a whopping 1,000 Wh/kg, versus the 95-200 Wh/kg that most lithium-ion batteries achieve. That capacity potential is simply too incredible to give up on. But something practical has eluded researchers.

Cost-effective graphene production still needs to be figured out before this advance from Samsung really goes somewhere, and we haven’t seen any indication of the price premium from Samsung’s solution, but it is exciting to see another potential leap in lithium-ion battery technology.

This is just one of many game-changing graphene-based technologies on the rise, of course. Graphene is all the rage, for many reasons!

Note that the results of Samsung’s research were posted in the science journal Nature Communications… if you want to dig further.

Image by Zachary Shahan | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • JamesWimberley

    Sadly, an innovation announced by a huge electronics conglomerate like Samsung is more likely to make it into produ rs than an equivalent breakthrough by a tiny startup.

    • nakedChimp

      You got that the wrong way around.. the breakthroughs by small start-ups are the innovations being announced by the big players a couple of years later – mergers and acquisitions 🙂

  • Foxy

    Silicon loses its advantages at beyond 30% blending with carbon, according to their own presentations. Efforts are better spent on solving lithium metal’s issues, which has far more capacity.

  • Jacob

    Cost is not an issue for mobile phones.

    Even if the cost per kWh is double, Samsung should put this battery in smart phones.

    • Shane 2

      I suspect that the cost will be higher per watt-hour of storage so will not initially be used for EVs. Phones would be an excellent use assuming this can be applied to phone battery form factors. If not they would be useful in premium laptops where people would be happy to pay extra for longer time between charges.

      • jeffhre

        That would allow them to scale, and take advantage of production technology improvements. Lowering prices over time.

      • Hans

        In general the technical interests of mobile electronics users and EV users are very similar: both want a high capacity per volume and per weight. However, as noted by Jacob, cost is not so important for electronics. This market will allow battery makers to recover their development costs and upscale production. Fine by me to let the gadget fetishists pay for product development. ;-). I think that improvements in smartphone and notebook batteries will thus be a good indication of what is to come in the EV market.

        Batteries for PV systems or grid assistance in a way are easier. They only have to be stable and cheap. Weight and volume are hardly an issue. So these batteries should be able to be produced cheaper than for mobile electronics or EVs.

    • Mint

      This is why nobody should get excited about higher density batteries for EVs for a looong time. They will take over the CE market first.

      Smartphone users will pay up to $2000/kWh or even more for high density batteries, because even a mere 20Wh is 2-3x what you get in an iPhone 6. When phone plus contract is $1500+, what’s another $40? For the watch, I bet Apple would even pay $5000/kWh.

      EVs need <$150/kWh to proliferate. Tesla has proven that density is a non-issue even with yesterday's tech. Cost is king.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I think it would be a good idea were we to start indicating whether we mean cell cost or pack cost when talking about EV batteries.

        If you’re saying <$150/kWh for cells then we seem to be one gigafactory away. Getting pack prices under $150 would take longer.

        And I agree. It's cost now. We can tolerate heavier EVs as long as we get affordable longer range options. Capacity will almost certainly grow over time giving us the option of even higher range or perfectly adequate (for most of us) cheaper 200 mile range EVs.

  • Chris Marshalk

    I’ve been reading about Battery Breakthrough technology for years. I’m still waiting !!!! It’ll be many more years before something comes out.

    • jeffhre

      Batteries improve by about 8% to 9% a year. A very slow Moore’s law? These will slot right in with that – about six years from now!

  • newnodm

    When can I buy it?

    • Rolands

      i guess in 5 years

      • DrMurozviPhd

        that is if the gas people allow it to reach market

        • nakedChimp

          They wont reach that realm anymore, we’re not in the 80’s of the last century.
          Demand for high capacity batteries is paramount and in so many fields.. no chance they can buy out and put it in a shelf somewhere.

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