Batteries For The Future, What is Possible – Talk By Yi Cui of Stanford/SLAC

MAY 22 2015 BY JAY COLE 12

Yi Cui Talks Battery Tech Possibilities In The Future

Yi Cui Talks Battery Tech Possibilities In The Future

Yi Cui, an associate professor at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, recently gave a fairly inspired talk on the history and future of battery technology.

Fair disclaimer: this video is for the EV/battery storage enthusiast who is also a bit a technology nerd – there is no Tesla Model P85D vs your dad’s Toyota Corolla race to be found in the video.

However if you are excited to learn if is possible to have 10,000 cycle batteries that cost $100 per kWh inside a plug-in vehicle during your lifetime,  then this is your cup of tea.

If you aren’t currently a battery technology savant, but you want to be…just watch the video (up to the 26 minute mark) and you will be well on your way.  Head into the second half of the presentation if you are feeling really ambitious with your learning.

As per the video description:

A Nice Primer On Reasonable Applications For Battery Storage

A Nice Primer On Reasonable Applications For Battery Storage

“Lithium ion batteries have been the dominant power source for consumer electronics. This lecture reviews the existing technology and presents promising future battery technologies that could have significantly higher energy density, lower cost, better safety and longer life. Novel battery chemistries and materials are key to a revolutionary change.”

Hat tip to Martin B!

Categories: Battery Tech


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12 Comments on "Batteries For The Future, What is Possible – Talk By Yi Cui of Stanford/SLAC"

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Great find, thanks for posting.

Great stuff. Thanks.

So lithium is still king for my lifetime. Developments in nanostructure are solution to anode and cathode breakage, and dendrite growth, and solid electrolyte for stability and safety. Sounds like these could get us to ICE breaker in 5-10 years. By then we will definitely be banning fossil fuel cars. Lots of lithium, but mining and processing will still be done with fossil fuels on the decade time scale. Since the number of vehicles will probably keep going up over that time, not to mention replacing existing vehicles, it still sounds like we need smaller, more efficient vehicles ASAP to me.

The idea of having a 3rd conductor and then sending a high voltage through it to breakup dendrite growth is brilliant.

The only use I saw mentioned for a third conductor was to sense when a cell was failing, not to zap it back to health. Did I miss something?

He described this in passing as an idea in a response to a question at the end in the Q&A.


if anybody thinks there is no urgency to our downsizing, and electrifying our transport, they aren’t paying attention.

“A 2012 Citigroup report said that if Saudi oil demand continued to grow at current rates, the country could be a net oil importer by 2030.”

JCESR has a goal of 5-5-5, to develop a battery with 5 times the density at 1/5th the cost within five years; their choice of record is multi-valent elements, i.e., Al, Mg, etc.

The good professor is at odds with JCESR in his predictions. He picked Li and says Al and Mg used as working batteries are further out than five years.

It will be interesting to see what occurs.

In reading the book “Powerhouse” you find out the that the 5-5-5 thing was just a marketing pitch, laughed at by the researchers. They realistically expected more like 3-3-10, but that just didn’t sound as good when asking for funding.

The idea was, stop chasing the diminishing returns of the shrinking gap between theoretical and practical capacity of LCO/NMC/etc. The Japanese and S. Koreans are already well along that path. Instead go straight for the next gen in an attempt to make the US the battery IP leaders.

That all said, if you can get a solid state Li-S battery to work with anything approaching theoretical limits, there will be little motivation to go beyond that.

No. Li-S solves weight and cost, but not volume; Li-S might actually increase in size, if developments pan out unfavorably (too early to say right now). This outcome would be fine for stationary, of course, and most cars. It wouldn’t sit well with portable electronics, bikes, and some car categories. This might motivate the industry to fork its chemistries (and therefore R&D), which is bad.

Dr. Cui is full of hot air. He’s had ten generations of ‘breakthroughs’ that haven’t amounted to much of anything. His commercial Amprius batteries have not much better specific energy than Panasonic’s do, and with all the nanothis and nanothat I expect they are much more expensive. The lab versions are better, but I don’t trust him to have good specifications on what he doesn’t talk about, like cycle life, cost, and operating temperature ranges.

Other videos by other researchers have impressed me much more.

It was a fascinating talk for me, but it’s also the first one like this that I’ve watched. He was clearly tooting his own horn, but that’s the life of researchers. Do you have links to some other videos?