New Paper Ream-Like Battery Boasts Impressive Energy Density

5 months ago by Mark Kane 50

An illustration that shows how the new electric battery is stacked like a ream of paper. Credit: Fraunhofer IKTS (source: LiveScience)

Doubling the energy density, and thus range of the state-of-the-art electric vehicles to some 620 miles (1,000 km) is the stated goal of Mobile Energy Storage Systems out of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Dresden, Germany.

Twice the range of Chevrolet Bolt EV?

Project Manager Mareike Wolter, presented the battery concept that, in theory, would enable a Tesla Model S to travel up to 1,000 km instead of current 540 km (335 miles – 100D), using the same battery pack footprint.

The solution apparently is a completely new battery design that wouldn’t any waste space on inactive components in the system.

“To do so, they got rid of the housings that encase individual batteries and turned to a thin, sheet-like design instead of a cylinder. Their metallic sheet is coated with an energy-storage material made from powdered ceramic mixed with a polymer binder. One side serves as the cathode, and other side serves as the anode.

The researchers stacked several of these so-called bipolar electrodes one on top of the other, like sheets of paper in a ream, separating the electrodes by thin layers of electrolyte and a material that prevents electrical charges from shorting out the whole system.

The “ream” is sealed within a package measuring about 10 square feet (1square meter), and contacts on the top and bottom connect to the car’s electrical system.

The goal is to build a battery system that fits in the same space as the one used by Tesla’s vehicles or other electric vehicles, the researchers said.

“We can put more electrodes storing the energy in the same space,” Wolter said.”

German researchers reportedly have been working on the project for about three years, and apparently will be ready with a test prototype by 2020.

It is definitely a novel idea, but the ~6 year timeline to just get to a prototype shows there are some serious issues to making the concept a reality; and as always, the price per kWh is a main deciding factor in mass adoption.

source: LiveScience

50 responses to "New Paper Ream-Like Battery Boasts Impressive Energy Density"

  1. R.S says:

    “It is definitely a novel idea, but the ~6 year timeline to just get to a prototype shows there are some serious issues to making the concept a reality; and as always, the price per kWh is a main deciding factor in mass adoption.”

    There will of course be issues with a design like that, but I think price won’t be one of them. From a production standpoint it seems much cheaper than building several hundred cells instead.

    1. Hauer says:

      Not necessarily. Seems like the individula “cell” here is huge, and it may be hard to contain a failure.

      Also 3 years away from a test prototype = useless.

      1. leafowner says:

        3 years for Germany is really fast – especially when 1.5 of them are for vacations, bank holidays and sick leave.

        1. Pedro says:

          And now compare the productivity in Germany and in the US (if that’s where you are from)…

        2. trololo says:

          OMG, I am moving to Germany as soon as possible.

          Seriously, I have never seen just an hairy troll … Half the time in vacations, really ?

        3. VS says:

          Yeees. The crap design and crap build quality in BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Airbus, Siemens products etc are obvious.

      2. Serial anti tesla troll thomas says:

        The same as Tesla did with semi trucks, Model Y, boring company

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “From a production standpoint it seems much cheaper than building several hundred cells instead.”

      That idea is why most EV makers other than Tesla have used large-format prismatic or pouch cells to build their battery packs, instead of the relatively small cylindrical cells Tesla uses. But in practice, that hasn’t worked out so well for those other auto makers.

      What larger cells gain in lower production costs by packaging the same volume in fewer containers, they lose in having to use lower energy density materials. I don’t know that the large format cells are actually much worse, overall, than Telsa’s cylindrical cells; but they certainly aren’t any better, and the hoped-for lower costs from using the larger format have not appeared.

  2. Chris O says:

    Working prototype by 2020? So they basically have nothing? Maybe make it a rule not to report on “battery breakthroughs” unless there is a working prototype to show for it. Of course that would basically mean the end of all reporting on battery breakthroughs

    1. Gazz says:

      Finally.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Even a laboratory demo of a working prototype only demonstrates that something is possible, not that it will ever be practical or affordable.

      I’ve been watching battery tech since 2007, and the only breakthru I’ve seen actually make it into mass production and impact EVs is LG Chem’s development of lower-cost li-ion cells; probably the development of the ability to use much more NMC material in cells — the breakthru that Envia claimed but was unable to deliver on. Of course LG Chem is keeping mum on exactly what the breakthru was, but that’s what industry watchers think happened.

      That’s the only one, despite seeing breathless, wide-eyed announcements of new battery tech breakthrus about twice per month on the (now defunct) TheEEStory forum.

      I always enjoy reading stories like this. It’s great to imagine “What if, someday…” But then, I’ve been waiting for my flying car that Popular Science promised when I first subscribed back in the late 1960s, and it doesn’t appear any closer today. So I’m not holding my breath!

  3. Toni says:

    Please stop this “2020” german bulls***. If they wanted to make electric cars they would already make electric cars. They just want to create unrealistic expectations in the consumers and delay their decision to buy an EV.

    1. Andy says:

      This project has nothing to do with German carmakers, it’s right now not even financially supported by them. So don’t hate an interesting project because you don’t like BMW and co

  4. przemo_li says:

    Cooling will be hard?
    So useless?

    No structural strength do no hope of integrating it into car frame?

    Single pack container failure (rock on the road piercing belly of a EV) mean massive failure to multiple layers?

    Looks nor so practical.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Cooling can be inserted in between the layers. in the modular battery of today if one fails the entire battery is replaced…no difference here.

    2. Kdawg says:

      That was my concern too. How do you cool this? I’m sure they can come up w/something, just not seeing it here.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Well said, przemo_li.

      The description here of “stacking layers like paper” makes it sound as if this is some kind of revolutionary breakthru, when the reality is that all li-ion cells are made that way. And since a working prototype of this proposed tech is years away, odds are that some other tech will make it obsolete even before any prototype is made.

      Replacing separate layers of cathode and anode in the “stack” with a single layer that’s cathode on one side and anode on the other, doesn’t impress me. Even if they can develop this, merely making the stack a bit thinner is only faintly interesting.

      What impresses me is the solid-state “plastic” battery seen on a recent episode of PBS’s “Nova”: “The Search for the Super Battery”. No liquid electrolyte, no overheating during charging, no danger of fire. Now that would be a real breakthru if it can be commercialized! But of course, that’s a big “if”.

      https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/the-plastic-battery-that-doesnt-explode/

      1. buu says:

        and internal resistance of order magnitude higher, so low power although could be enough, but definitely no DCFC

      2. Carlos santos says:

        Solid state electolyte is the near future. Check out jonh goodenough and helena braga work in austin university. They are developing a glass electolyte that is beeing licensed to the industry. Published in the journal of materials chemistry.

  5. DJ says:

    What??????????? But we’re on the brink of everything changing 🙁

  6. floydboy says:

    It’s gone be own in 2020 baby!

  7. KM says:

    It is a brilliant idea. They aim to star testing in cars in 3 years so possibly another 4 years before it goes on sale if it works. What are you all complaining about? If you have a batter solution available now just say so. Yes, there is a lot of hype and prototypes which failed to deliver but that is life. That is how research works – you have an idea, try it out if it does not work you start again.
    Unlike some dishonest folks they are not falsely claiming that their product will definitely revolutionize the industry. They are just saying they are working on it. Relax! Also to be fair the Germans who were caught cheating with diesels also gave us Energiewende which brought solar back from oblivion. So just stop childishly blaming the entire nation for the decision of one company especially as since then we have found that other companies selling diesels in Europe exceeded limits even more.

    1. KM says:

      I meant 3 years to build a prototype and then 4 years of testing so I don’t expect it until 2024. Still worth the wait as mot much else on the horizon.

    2. Paul says:

      @KM. +1….Absolutely. Looks like a fine idea. Cooling/Reliability will be the challenge, but when is it not?

  8. SparkEV says:

    “they got rid of the housings that encase individual batteries and turned to a thin, sheet-like design instead of a cylinder”

    Isn’t this the idea behind prismatic cells? Bolt has 288 cells while Tesla S60 has 5376 cylindrical cells.

    1. DJ says:

      This is actually exactly what I was thinking. It does seem to be more efficient although it’s also more costly which is why Tesla has purposely chosen to not use them.

      1. Davek says:

        I was also thinking something along the lines of “congratulations, you’ve invented the prismatic cell(?)”, but I’ll be glad if anyone can explain how this is really different.

        As for the Tesla Thing, I understood that they mainly went with the cylindrical cells to exploit the economies of scale, since those were the cells produced in the largest numbers at the time. I always assumed though, that once EV’s started really getting going, they could use whatever cells they wanted and drive their own economies of scale. I’ve always thought if Tesla wanted to, they could produce prismatic cells at the gigafactory and simplify pack cooling and assembly and improve energy density; after all they’ll be producing so many that the price should come down no matter what. I wonder why they stuck with cylinders…

    2. Martin Winlow says:

      It very much *does* sound like is a ‘pouch cell’ such as Kokam and the ones Nissan and GM use in their EVs and PiHs. So, hardly a new idea. Besides which *all* cells use a layered construction in the way described in the article so that’s hardly new either.

      Lastly, what the Dickens is the point in spending all this time, effort and money on a 600km battery when the average daily distance driven for a car is only 1/6th that distance?

      1. Jason says:

        Your ICE has the same capacity, why don’t you have a 5ltr gas tank? It would do your daily drive no worries (of course you are filling up daily, but let’s ignore that for the moment).

        The reason is because sometimes you want to drive 500km and you don’t want to fill up every 50km. EV is no different! Sure, we fill up every night and have full range every day, but only drive 50km per day most of the time. But then on the weekend we go for a drive 500km and don’t want to fill up every 50km (yes, exaggeration, but most EV’s right now have about 100km range).

        Now I also want to load the car with people, and maybe a trailer, run the heater, so now the range is half. Wow,I really don’t want to fill up every 25km, so a 1000km range now gives me 500km when fully loaded.

        No, not all vehicles need this range, but lots of vehicle do. Personally, I think EV’s will need 200kWh to 500kWh before they become parity with ICE. This will cover all use scenarios such as towing a caravan or heavy trailer.

        Look at your typical ICE, it is a general purpose vehicle. It can carry 4 or more people but typically only carries 1, how many single seat cars you see being sold? It can drive more than 500km but typically drives 50km per day, how many 5ltr gas tank cars you see sold? It can tow a trailer or caravan but typically doesn’t, you see lots of cars with a tow bar so obviously something people think they need. It has the versatility to do all these things even though most of the time it doesn’t. This is the versatility EV’s need to make serious impact on the majority of buyers. Battery improvements is the single biggest area where this parity will come from, nothing else IMO.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Isn’t this the idea behind prismatic cells?”

      Exactly: The article is breathlessly claiming this is some sort of revolutionary idea… but it’s the same idea used for the design of pouch cells and prismatic cells.

      If I understand it, they don’t even have a laboratory prototype. Just an idea which looks good on paper. In other words, this is just more B.S. of the type which has given the high-tech battery industry a very, very bad name.

      Hey, I’ve got plenty of ideas that look great on paper! Throw money at me! 😉

    4. buu says:

      I *think* their battery internally serial, while usual pouch are parallel folded

  9. CDAVIS says:

    Seems like the idea here is to increase power density by removing all the components Tesla currently uses to manage thermal runaway propagation…and while at it also remove the active heating/cooling pack subsystem.

    No thanks…next

  10. SJC says:

    I documented the idea of stacking cells here and else where online years ago. You could make a 48 volt stack that would take less space be lighter and cheaper.

  11. Roy LeMeur says:

    “There are liars, damn liars, and battery salesmen.” Thomas Alva Edison

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      And a century later, the only difference is that there are more people shoveling out those lies and/or extreme hype.

      My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technologies, please send us a sample cell, okay, don’t send us PowerPoint. Just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats; that would be great. That… sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true. Talk is super cheap; the battery industry has to have more B.S. in it than any industry I’ve ever encountered. It’s insane. — Elon Musk, Nov. 5, 2014

  12. Someone out there says:

    I was wondering if you were going to write something about this.

    The Embatt project is super-interesting and exciting! It sounds very feasible. I really hope it works out in mass production, it would completely change everything.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      On the contrary, I seriously question that this would be any real improvement at all. Large format EV cells already have to use lower density materials, because larger (thicker) cells have a greater problem with getting rid of excess heat during fast-charging and when the car accelerates.

      Seems to me that using a denser stack of layers in the cell would just make the problems with overheating worse, and thus would be completely impractical for use in a real-world EV.

      The real breakthroughs are going to be (a) replacing the highly flammable liquid electrolyte with something less volatile, and (b) lowering the internal resistance inside the cell to reduce/eliminate overheating. This proposal won’t help with those goals at all.

      1. Someone out there says:

        No. You get heat problems when you are trying to pull a large current from a small area and volume. In this battery you spread out the battery so you get cooling by default.

        1. SJC says:

          Drawing large current from a rolled up can creates heat.

  13. Vexar says:

    Can we safely say that this isn’t news, but that someone has an idea they haven’t tried? It sounds clever. After a dozen InsideEVs comments, it doesn’t sound well-thought-out.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Sometimes the comments are far more informative than the article. This is an excellent example of that.

    2. SJC says:

      This Germany institute is known world wide for fine work.

  14. leafowner says:

    This is NOTHING new folks. Next please.

  15. slufbeer says:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170518153853.htm
    This is nearly half of energy density petrol.Distract efficiency petrolburner of 40% ,and hey presto !! Were in !!!

  16. Pat75014 says:

    Interesting…. But not sure how the cooling of this will work, … and still enable the required 350KW or much more SuperCharging v3, as well as very fast accelerations tomorrow. Plus I hate so partial disclosures used as marketing Hype to tease un-proven and yet un-realistic specs, not truely required to move to a long range Full EV.

    Plus 3 years to get just a test prototype seams a very long time… and may mean they have NOTHING YET.

    Regarding the capacity teased, Obama administration dream was the 500 Miles battery. For sure 625M would be even better…as a dream. Understand this would mean a # 200KWH pack in same space as current Tesla 100KWH. No mezntion of the weight as Teslas are above 2.6 Tons and can’t add much to this. On my side I’ll run after more KWH per pack till I reach 160KWH, then all focuss on cycles, and other parameters.

  17. notting says:

    – The Fraunhofer society is registered in Munich.
    – Simply copy the name of the institute from the image description (of course you can mention where that (part of the) institute is located. Probably such a department or group is also part of other Fraunhofer institutes so it’s quite important to know the institute’s name to find more information exaktly about we’re talking.

    notting

  18. SJC says:

    1000 km range thanks to a new battery concept

  19. Peter says:

    More information needed to understand if this is a good or bad idea.
    But they have obviously looked at current production with specifications and price and are trying to make something better. A lot of people are trying to find that magic bullet. That is how development is made.

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