Maxwell Technologies, SK Innovation Form Alliance to Develop Integrated Lithium Ion Battery-Ultracapacitor Energy Storage Solutions

DEC 19 2013 BY MARK KANE 7

Maxwell’s entire line of ultracapacitor products.

Maxwell’s entire line of ultracapacitor products.

Ultracapacitor manufacturer Maxwell Technologies announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SK Innovation, Korea’s lithium-ion manufacturer and one of Daimler’s EV supplier.  The MoU lays out plans to develop “hybrid” (not hybrid vehicles) energy storage solutions with both ultracapacitor and li-ion cells.

The partners intend to explore and identify global commercial opportunities for such a product, which will be able to provide high power and at the same time high energy density. Of course, performance in both areas will be lower than ultracapacitors or li-ion alone, but the combination of both features could be valuable in some applications.

In the press release, there is no specific mention of electric vehicles, but the transporatation market will be considered.

Stephen J. Kim of SK Innovation’s battery division remarked:

“As our name implies, we are seeking to move beyond the limitations of existing technologies  to develop and deliver products that better meet the requirements of the most demanding energy storage and power delivery applications. Our goal is to develop truly differentiated products that will create large new opportunities for both companies.”

David Schramm, Maxwell’s president and chief executive officer commented:

“While our respective products currently meet the needs of many applications as stand-alone solutions, Maxwell has always believed that ultracapacitors and batteries can be integrated to provide optimized products that offer the best of both worlds in terms of energy and power. We are very pleased to have found a major lithium-ion battery producer in SK Innovation that is willing to invest in joint product and market exploration.”

Maxwell already introduced its Engine Start Module (ESM) designed to accompany lead-acid batteries in fleet vehicles to deliver quick-burst power in sub-zero weather, eliminating the issue of cold starting (see videos below), so maybe this is another small step towards EV/PHEV territory.

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7 Comments on "Maxwell Technologies, SK Innovation Form Alliance to Develop Integrated Lithium Ion Battery-Ultracapacitor Energy Storage Solutions"

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This is an interesting idea. It’s especially good for lead acid since lead acid has such a low C rate (typically .25 to .5C). However I’m having a hard time thinking of an EV example where it would help. In the model S app the battery is so large there is plenty of power available and at the same time a high energy density. Even with an EV of 40 kwh that would give a power of 320 kw at a leasurley C rate of 8 which is easily attained.

Yeah, agreed, although they may be thinking about Li-Ion starter batteries for regular cars (to cut weight) or micro/start-stop hybrids. Or something like the Prius.

Still, this same effect can be achieve by paralleling high energy Li-Ion cells (e.g. laptop chemistry and construction) with high power Li-Ion cells (e.g. power tool chemistry and construction). This gives you roughly the same outcome- a blending of high energy and high power, the amounts depending on mix of cell fractions.

The high power cells do the bulk of the rapid charge/discharge because at the high rate end the impedance of the energy cells is (relatively) high so the power/energy goes via the power cells. I know this is true… because we tried it. I think there’s even a patent on it out there somewhere as I recall.

Great idea for lead acid – 🙂

I’m wondering when lead acid will die even in ICE automotive. What’s the pure raw materials cost of Pb acid vs common Li ion?

I think the market for this is PHEV, particularly high performance. You can have a 15 kWh battery, but drive a 200+ kW motor using 0.2 kWh of supercaps for 0-60 or 60-85. It will also reduce wear on the battery from regen cycles, and allow harder regen.

People pay for performance, and this is where EVs have the biggest cost advantage over ICEs. Hopefully this hybrid will help manufacturers create $40k PHEV rockets.

My cat’s breath smells like cat food.

They form an alliance to aggressively seek out bankruptcy. It’s quite impressive.