New Battery Cell Patented By Tesla: Faster Charging, Lower Cost

FEB 5 2019 BY VANJA KLJAIC 17

The new battery cell comes with improved chemistry which might result in faster charging and discharging, better longevity, and even lower cost

Coming from the Tesla battery research group, this patent promises an incremental step in improving the current Li-Ion batteries that are used in most electric vehicles. The research group – led by Jeff Dahn and located in Halifax – pushes the boundaries for current EV battery technology. Jeff has pretty much been working on Li-ion batteries ever since their introduction, making him the perfect lead in this research. Furthermore, he is credited in pushing the life cycle of the battery cells, an item that ensured the commercialization of these battery cells. The current cornerstone of Jeff’s work revolves around a potential increase in energy density and durability. An item that is highly coveted in both the EV and electronics industries.

Back in 2016, Dahn has transitioned his research group from their 20-year research agreement with 3M to a new association with Tesla, all under the newly formed ‘NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research’. As part of this agreement, Tesla invested heavily into a new research group close to Dahn’s group location in Nova Scotia. Coming as a direct result of their work, this patent outlines a solution that promises improved chemistry within the battery cells. In turn, the solution could help produce EV batteries that feature faster charging and discharging, improved longevity, and finally, a lower production cost.

Even though the news about a new patent comes after a few years of relative silence from Jeff Dahn, people affiliated with the battery industry knew that something was cooking for years. It was well-known (within the battery industry, at least) that Jeff, together with his group, was working on a solution that uses additives to the electrolytes within Li-ion batteries. Designed to increase the performance of the chemistry within the cells, these additives are a key ingredient in this research and the subsequent patent application. And now, after years of research, the group applied on a patent for this technology and made it public last night. The technology is called ‘Novel battery systems based on two-additive electrolyte systems’ and it promises an impressive leap in battery tech.

The documentation attached to the patent application reveals how Dahn and his team were able to prove that using several additives to Li-ion batteries can improve the battery performance, lifetime expectancy, but also, cut the production costs associated with Li-ion battery cells as well. If you dug deeper into the matter, you’ll find out that, generally, five additives are needed. However, Dahn and his team came up with a solution where only two are used to deliver the same results. Quite fascinating!

Two-additive electrolyte systems that enhance performance and lifetime of Li-ion batteries, while reducing costs from other systems that rely on more additives. This disclosure also discloses effective positive electrodes and negative electrodes that work with the disclosed two-additive electrolyte systems to provide further systematic enhancements.”

Additionally, the patent outlines how the new two-additive mixtures in an electrolyte solvent can be used with lithium nickel manganese cobalt compounds, which is also known as an NMC battery chemistry. While the solution is routinely used by other carmakers, it’s not used by Tesla. The U.S. based carmaker uses the tech in its energy storage systems. However, they use NCA for the battery cells powering their vehicles. But, the new patent filed by the Tesla battery research group, describes how the new battery technology could be useful in both electric vehicle and energy grid storage applications.

A full summary of Tesla’s new battery patent awaits you below. Furthermore, you’ll find images from the patent application and the full specification sheet. It’s a long read, but if you’re into battery tech, you’ll love this. And quite frankly, we can’t think of a better way to spend the morning, than by taking your daily dose of internet-powered commute with some batter geek talk. On the other hand, we’re well aware that everyone expected a solid state battery patent or something alongside those lines, but this can’t be labeled as disappointing in any way, as the technology outlined in this patent could allow for much better utilization in both energy storage applications and commercial vehicles use.

Two-operative, additive electrolyte systems disclosed include 1) vinylene carbonate (VC) combined with 1,3,2-dioxathiolane-2,2-dioxide (DTD, also known as ethylene sulfate) or another sulfur-containing additive (such as methylene methane disulfonate, trimethylene sulfate, 3-hydroxypropanesulfonic acid γ-sultone, glycol sulfite, or another sulfur-containing additive), 2) fluoro ethylene carbonate (FEC) combined with DTD or another sulfur-containing additive, and 3) prop-1-ene-1,3-sultone (PES) combined with DTD or another sulfur-containing additive. Further, because VC and FEC provide similar improvements (and are believed to function similarly), a mixture of VC and FEC may be considered as only a single operative electrolyte. That is, another disclosed two-operative, additive electrolyte system includes a mixture of VC and FEC combined with DTD or another sulfur-containing additive. When used as part of a greater battery system (which includes the electrolyte, electrolyte solvent, positive electrode, and negative electrode), these two-operative, additive electrolyte systems produce desirable properties for energy storage applications, including in vehicle and grid applications.

More specifically, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) positive electrodes, a graphite negative electrodes, a lithium salt dissolved in an organic or non-aqueous solvent, which may include methyl acetate (MA), and two additives to form a battery system with desirable properties for different applications. The electrolyte solvent may be the following solvents alone or in combination: ethylene carbonate (EC), ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC), methyl acetate, propylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate, diethyl carbonate, another carbonate solvent (cyclic or acyclic), another organic solvent, and/or another non-aqueous solvent. Solvents are present in concentrations greater than the additives, typically greater than 6% by weight. The solvent may be combined with the disclosed two-additive pairs (such as VC with DTD, FEC with DTD, a mixture of VC and FEC with DTD, or another combination) to form a battery system with desirable properties for different applications. The positive electrode may be coated with a material such as aluminum oxide (Al 23), titanium dioxide (Ti02), or another coating. Further, as a cost savings, the negative electrode may be formed from natural graphite, however depending on the pricing structure, in certain instances artificial graphite is cheaper than natural graphite.”

Tesla Novel Battery System … by on Scribd

Source: Electrek

Categories: Battery Tech, Tesla

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17 Comments on "New Battery Cell Patented By Tesla: Faster Charging, Lower Cost"

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I am puzzled! Wonder how this announcement clicks, if it does, with Tesla’s purcase of the supercapacitor firm Maxell Technologies? What is Elon up to these days?

This is a new electrolyte for NMC cells. Maxwell has a process for dry coating electrodes of various types. Different parts of a battery, might be able to co-exist.

This is why I sometime get a little frustrated with the pessimism on battery research. Many of the things we read about may not by themselves constitute a breakthrough battery, but they often result in the tweaks we see that provide us with the incremental benefits we see on a consistent basis.

I understand the skeptical impulse but not everything we see is a scam or simple ploy to get research dollars.

Well said. Everyone wants the headline-grabbing quantum jump in EV battery tech, but what has actually happened over the past couple of decades or so is a stream of incremental improvements. None of them alone has been worthy of giant headlines, but taken together, we have seen vast improvements in energy density and reductions in costs of commercial li-ion batteries.

I don’t know if this patent is applicable to Tesla’s EV batteries, but it looks like it might be able to at least result in a significant cost savings in its stationary storage batteries… Tesla’s PowerWalls and PowerPacks. Plus, if this tech can, as Doggydogworld said, co-exist with Maxell’s improved electrode coatings, then taken together, these two might well be described as a quantum jump in improved battery tech.

Caveat: Most patents these days don’t lead to any commercial application. But I’m going to be optimistic here and hope this one is an exception.

I’m glad this article reminds us about the Tesla battery research group. Contrary to what I’ve claimed several times recently, Tesla is doing its own battery tech R&D!

Keep going Tesla!

Where did you hear about this quantum jumping battery? What does it cost and how soon?

Others should license the patent to speed up the electrification of the transportation sector

Depending on who exactly filed the patent, others may not even need to license it. After all, Tesla has famously declared years ago that all of its patents will be free to use by anyone*. So if this patent is attached to the company instead of Jeff Dahn himself, then no license costs need to be paid. I hope it is so, because there’s few things that the competition loves as much as getting to use other companies’ secrets for free. 😉

*(anyone without malicious intent towards Tesla)

“…Tesla has famously declared years ago that all of its patents will be free to use by anyone*.

It’s good that you included an asterisk, because what isn’t so famous is the poison pill that Tesla put in the fine print of its offer for “free” patent licenses. It’s only available for other companies which are willing to make the same offer of their own patents also being free for use by anyone (see details at link below). Very few if any companies would agree to that, and certainly not any major auto makers. Even startup auto makers like Rivian are probably going to want to protect their own patents.

https://www.tesla.com/about/legal#patent-pledge

Yeah, that was mostly a marketing ploy by Elon.

And clearly it’s working as Omicron took the bait…

It’s the open source model.
It seems to work very well for Linux.

I expect Proterra or the bus companies to do it.
It might be bad press for BMW, Audi or MB.

Where does this leave Panasonic. Totally confused Musk said for the Model 3 in China will use cells produced in China. When asked at the earnings call he said that all the cells were the same. Which surprised me because I thought Panasonic/ Tesla cells were superior.
I’m impressed how Musk as been recruiting and funding innovators like Jeff Dahn and buying Maxwell to continue improving battery performance.
I’m not surprised though Musk is on a mission and he’ll stay five years ahead of the competition.

why is Panasonic partnering with Toyota?

Dahn said a while back that they had 10 year batteries, and were getting close to 20 year batteries. Hopefully this is the 20 year battery.

/Also, … Elon has said he’s not interested in laboratory batteries, .. so what ‘stage’ is this one at?

Can you be more specific.
No one said “Ten year batteries” and then ended with a period.
Did he say 90% after ten years of heavy use, or 80% after 15?

Jeff Dahn said 10 year batteries. He’s said it multiple times.

/around 8:45 in this video, there are other videos of him talking about his research out there on youtube .. have at it. Then be sure and report back with the specifics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpHW35gtn54