With Volkswagen As Automotive Partner, LISSEN Project Pioneers Energy-Dense Batteries

OCT 11 2015 BY MARK KANE 31

Volkswagen Sport Coupé Concept GTE

Volkswagen Sport Coupé Concept GTE

In August, a consortium of universities and industry partners completed the three-year LISSEN (Lithium Sulfur Superbattery Exploiting Nanotechnology) project.

EU-funded researchers, with support of inter alia Volkswagen, claims to have developed new LiS cells with three times higher energy density (than currently available).

As you can guess, no numbers were attached to the press release, but they would need to hit 750 Wh/kg to treat them seriously (assuming 250 Wh/kg or so for cells used by Tesla).

“The LISSEN project, which was completed at the end of August 2015, covered all aspects of battery production, from investigating new materials to testing large-scale prototypes. 3D geometric models were used to represent material properties. This revealed that the used of modified organic solutions and stable ionic liquid electrolytes could reduce environmental problems associated with sulphur cathode dissolution, while without lithium metal, the batteries would be safer to use.

The new battery developed by LISSEN consists of a silicon-carbon composite anode and a nano-structured lithium sulphide-carbon composite cathode. ‘Our efforts in this project were directed toward the replacement of all present battery components with materials that have higher performance in terms of energy, power, reliability and safety,’ explains Carelli. Prototypes are currently under development at the battery testing centres and industrials partners involved in the LISSEN consortium, where scalability issues and fabrication aspects are now being studied.”

To be honest, we would be more than happy with 500 Wh/kg, or even 400 Wh/kg, if only such cells existed and could be delivered at reasonable price with decent charge/discharge cycle performance.

Volkswagen, as a major partner, now has the chance to prove itself by introducing those new batteries in a 500-mile electric car.

Source: EU via Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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31 Comments on "With Volkswagen As Automotive Partner, LISSEN Project Pioneers Energy-Dense Batteries"

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It would be funny if the diesel scandal completely removes any internal motivation for EV-Foot dragging– and suddenly VW pulls out (or pinches off?) an affordable 300 mile BEV.

I’m hoping this is good news which moves vehicle electrification forward.

“EU-funded researchers, with support of inter alia Volkswagen, claims to have developed new LiS cells with three times higher energy density (than currently available).”

Developing batteries with higher energy densities hasn’t been an issue and appears to happens frequently in the labs. There are several other factors not mentioned which are relevant. Do they mention cycle life and coulombic efficiency?

Many of the battery density breakthrough announcements include cycle rates. Most have low cycle rates (somewhere between 3 and 500).

Exactly.
No Cycle data.
No credable’

500 would be more than enough, if they were full cycles. That would result in a worst case scenario of 150k miles with a 300 mile BEV. Limit the charge and you can easily get a 300k miles life, with ~250 miles of range.

Ho hum. Another week, another claim for breakthrough battery tech.

Dear Volkswagen: Do let us know if these actually go into production at a per-kWh price that’s competitive with li-ion cells which are being used in production plug-in EVs.

Otherwise, don’t waste our time with these wide-eyed announcements which have no details, and no mention of any tradeoffs which were made to maximize energy density. It’s unfortunately quite common for laboratory demos of li-ion battery tech to use cells which rapidly degrade with just a few dozen or a few hundred charge/discharge cycles.

If it sounds too good to be true ….. It Usually Isn’t True………..

Energy density is measured in Wh/l, where the current best cells are at around 700 Wh/l. Not that that would make much difference since they only offer a performance comparison with some unknown battery. When they are prepared to offer real specifications I’ll listen.

A battery may have a large energy storage capacity but may not be able to discharge that stored energy very rapidly. In an electric car you need batteries that deliver lots of power rapidly for the demands of driving such as mountain climbing or passing or drag racing at the stop lights. So, you need a battery with the ability to discharge rapidly into a load (e.g. the electric motor of a car) This discharge capacity has become known by the unfortunate and misguided term “power density” and very often becomes confused with the term energy density. The people who write electrical engineering textbooks should therefore henceforth and forever refer to the the ability of a battery to discharge rapidly when doing useful work as the discharge capacity not the by the unbelievably confusing term “power” density. Unlike an electric automobile, the electric wall clock draws a very small current. So, a battery can be designed with maximum energy density (or storage) in mind so that you don’t have to replace or recharge the wall clock battery all the time. In battery design energy density and rapid ability to discharge quickly are somewhat mutually exclusive properties. Battery makers sometimes try… Read more »
No offense, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you put a battery in 3 times the size, you can both charge and discharge it 3 times as fast as the same quality battery 1/3 the size. Charging a battery for EV’s is rarely a problem. Before the 2011 volt was even released it was stated basically they’d leave it to aftermarket tuners to give the chevy Volt a 240 volt 48 amp charger, which they said admittedly the battery could handle. No chevy Volt has even charged at even 1/3 of this rate, so there’s not sense in worrying about it. Now, assuming a battery ‘3 times the capacity’ was put in the volt, that had otherwise equivalent charge and discharge characteristics to the original.. Then a ’10 kw’ charge rate would be a no brainer, and would stress a battery 3 times as large no more than the 3.3 kw current charger does. In otherwords, a large vehicle with this 3x improved battery could be 54 kwh , have a 10 kw charge rate, and easily run a 400 hp drive motor. Or, since a very large vehicle has much more room for batteries, obviously… Read more »
I had to re-read your post a second time… Admittedly, in the laboratory it is conceivable they made a battery with 3 times the density (and assumedly capacity, since that is all that matters really – people want to know if I have 2 batteries of the same weight, only 1 has 3 times the electrical capacity, then why not use it?) I now see what u mean, I suppose it is possible for the new battery to only be charged and discharged at a snail’s pace (say, it can be charged and discharged only at 1/1000 the rate of the VOlt battery, as an example, so that the battery, insteady of being able to be charged at an 11.5 kw rate would only be able to take a 12 watt rate, or some such thing). Hopefully, any much, much (5 years now) newer battery would be able to be stressed at least as badly as the 2011 volt battery can, and as my preceding post illustrated, the Chevy Volt battery isn’t even remotely being stressed in everyday service. So hopefully, a technology that would allow 3 times the battery in the same car could be ‘stressed’ 3X as bad… Read more »
Here’s one of the reasons it takes so long for better battery designs to get to market. “In the automotive industry, people want cells that can cycle many times – for electric vehicles, we’re looking at 5,000-10,000 cycles – to reflect eight or nine years as a warranty period. If you want to test all 10,000 cycles every time you make potential improvement to cells, it can take years before you say, “okay, now we have an improvement.” – Peter Ulrix (PEC energy logistics) We need better batteries NOW. Here’s why…. “In May (2013), the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) put out its results for America’s biggest survey of plug-in drivers yet.” “More than 2,000 California EV owners responded, and while 92 percent of them are satisfied overall with their EV purchase, almost all of them want a longer range. In fact, while the respondents drive only about 29 miles a day on average, only 10 percent of them are happy with a range of 100 miles or less, and 57 percent of them want a range of more than 150 miles.” “Since this was a survey only of drivers who already bought EVs, we can divine that ICE-driving… Read more »

Just watched the video.

One mistake:

She’s basically talking about ESR (equivalent series resistance), when talking about the voltage required for the application consistent with the discharge rate, but then she calls this characteristic an ‘impedance’ – this is only important in supercapacitors which may have to deal with a many times per second charge and discharge rate. This doesn’t apply to storage batteries in an EV, since the ‘applied HZ’ is around .001 hz tops. Even if the battery did have an effective inductance, it wouldn’t show up in practical use at such a low frequency of charge/discharge.

One other point she made is that LI batteries are getting higher C rates as time goes on, not lower. The minimum she stated any LI battery has is 1 – 1.5 C, which is well under what most ev’s subject the battery to anyway. (My ELR never subjects the battery while charging on an EVSE, to more than 0.2 C, as a for instance).

@ Bill

ESR refers to induced impedance in capacitors in alternating current circuits caused by the AC current phase.

Current flow in batteries is direct current not AC, so when the term impedance is used in regard to batteries it refers to the internal resistance of the battery.

When the lady is comparing battery output voltage with the voltage requirements for a device, she makes no mention of impedance at all.

So, the lady in the video is right after all.

She called it an impedance, which at ‘low frequencies’ is technically the same thing as a resistance. But it is misleading terminology and people use it in general to sound intentionally more wonkish.

You restated what I just said. By the way, a battery does use very low frequency AC – I used the frequency of .001 HZ .. If the current didn’t ‘alternate’ there’d be no point in having a battery anyway.

“AC current phase” (!!!) – phase compared to what?

“Induced Impedance” (!!!) – “Induced” from where?

Sounds like there is an extreme effort to sound extra ‘high-tech’ here.

STILL let us Dream,750 more than good enough for airplains,min 250 mile bevs,cheap.

Here’s one of the reasons it takes so long for better battery designs to get to market. “In the automotive industry, people want cells that can cycle many times – for electric vehicles, we’re looking at 5,000-10,000 cycles – to reflect eight or nine years as a warranty period. If you want to test all 10,000 cycles every time you make potential improvement to cells, it can take years before you say, “okay, now we have an improvement.” – Peter Ulrix (PEC energy logistics) We need better batteries NOW. Here’s why…. “In May (2013), the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) put out its results for America’s biggest survey of plug-in drivers yet.” “More than 2,000 California EV owners responded, and while 92 percent of them are satisfied overall with their EV purchase, almost all of them want a longer range. In fact, while the respondents drive only about 29 miles a day on average, only 10 percent of them are happy with a range of 100 miles or less, and 57 percent of them want a range of more than 150 miles.” “Since this was a survey only of drivers who already bought EVs, we can divine that ICE-driving… Read more »

No offense, but that was a lousy article. Even the pedantic term “Coloumbic Efficiency” is a bit of a misnomer if you are worried about Coloumbs of electrons, since this only takes into account the current efficiency, not the Power efficiency, which is all the ev owner cares about.

Far from being extremely difficult to measure, you merely have to measure the power going out of the battery, divided by the power going in to recharge it, and multiply by 100 to get the percentage.

Bill,

Yes, coulombic efficiency is basically just the difference between how much charge you put into a battery and how much you actually get back out expressed in a percentage. For example, most lead acid batteries are about 95% efficient.

Hey, I didn’t write or make up the title for the article on coulombic efficiency. In fact the quotations I used were mostly about the California survey of plug-in drivers and were not about so-called coulombic efficiency at all.

I agree with you that the term “coulombic efficiency” is old-fashioned, or as you say pedantic. And yes, the technical info in the article wasn’t all that great but I found the plug-in survey results to be interesting.

I wasn’t complaining about the term’s ‘modernity’, I was complaining about the big-shot using it. Some people call things ‘hand-help personal inscribing device’, whereas more plain-speakers call it a pencil.

95% efficiency of any battery is pretty good if you’re considering the juice from the battery charger compared to the juice finally coming out of the battery. Since the battery has an Equivalent Series Resistance in it, and since the power loss from that is I * I * R, keeping the charging current to a trickle and the discharge to a trickle would be the only way to get 95% out of it.

Llewelen’s Lawn mower article what with his fast charging bosch recharger, just has to be low efficiency (the batteries and chargers themselves get quite warm), simply because they’ve traded efficiency for the convenience of high current (high I) quick recharging.

A lead acid battery might be 95% efficient, but its coulombic efficiency should be over 99%. Don’t confuse efficiency with coulombic efficiency.

There is no practical use for the homeowner of the ‘coloumbic efficiency’ of 99% – which just negates the ESR heating loss.

And the efficiency depends on the various charge and discharge rates. I’d consider 95 % efficiency an Idealization, and the 99% term being posibly interesting to battery plate manufacturers, but of little use to the homeowner.

A homeowner would want to know, If the battery is taking in 15 kwh when its finished charging, how many kwh does it take to actually get the 15 kwh in there?

Automotive has a requirement for 8 years durability, but 8 years is only 2920 days. At average a EV will be rechargend (a full cycle) maybe once a day. This makes 3000 cycle testing. In fact i would expect a Tesla to go trough a full cycle in average every third day. Thous reducing the testing need to only 1000 cycles.

Conclusion: Automotive battery testing can be done in less than half a year.

Nope.

It was repeated at nausea that Li-on lose stats at first few % of capacity and at last few % of charging.

And mostly when temperature condition is meet.

So daily usage DO NOT translate into DEEP cycles.

There many measures against DEEP ever occurring too.

From simple: make battery bigger, but make it impossible via software to fully charge or discharge.

To more complex: cool/heat battery to optimal operational temperature.

To more finesse: consciously pick speed of charging so that battery do not overheat.

That is why Tesla can take that famous by now 500 number and stretch it into 8 years infinite mileage warranty.

Everybody else can do that too (and is doing every or some of those).

So 3000 DEEP cycles would give a battery that is for all purposes indestructible for whole lifetime of car 😉

500 -> 8y
3000 -> 8*6 = 48y

😀 😀 😀 😀

You guys are awesome! This is ev101 right here.

Let me put my comment in a structured way: 1.) This LISSEN project has some similarities with the ENEVATE HD-Energy (remember the article last week), especially with the silicon-based anode which can store 4 lithium ions per silicon atom, as someone of our community explained. In our comments, we also had doubts about the discharge capability since drones was the utmost application and automotive traction was not mentioned. 2.) Now I come to the discharge topic: A traction battery should be able to drive the electric engine at the rated power for a certain time, for example if you have 500kW engines in your Tesla S, your battery should be able to discharge at 500kW. On the other hand, you will not do that permanently, because with a 100kWh battery you would have “Game Over” after 12 minutes. The typical average power consumption however is 20kWh/100km. If you drive with an average speed of 100 km/h (which is not too slow) this means that you can drive for 5 hours with an average discarge of 20 kW, but with a peak discharge up to 500kW. This leads to my idea/solution: 3.) Why should I carry an expensive highly dischargeable battery… Read more »

Great solution as long as the cost is not increased.

What you say are idealizations based on 100% efficiency.

Current day descriptions ‘in vogue’ take into account battery discharging losses, but don’t take into account battery charging losses.

When it is commonly stated that a battery has 100 kwh in it, it is meant, that, with a very slow discharge, you can actually get 100 kwh of energy out of the battery. Your 500 kw ‘engine’ – assuming that is the rate of electricity actually used and not its actual brake power output, which would be substantially less, would operate for far less than 12 minutes since discharging the battery this fast would cause much of the stored energy to be dissipated as heat before it ever got near the motor.

“Why not think of a two- level battery system with a 10kWh traction battery which can stand the peak power ( in my example 500kW for 1.2 minutes) and a second level buffer battery of 90 kWh capacity and a discharge capability of 25kW, or 50kW.”
Similar ideas have been suggested but so far have proven impractical vs just going with a single larger battery. In your case you are asking for a smaller 50C battery (which tends to have horrible energy density) and a larger 0.5C battery. The problem is there is little to gain when going with this approach. When lithium air becomes viable (battery type with high energy density but low C-rates) that might make some sense, but at the moment it doesn’t.

Thank You! Sure was refreshing to see differing viewpoints traded without the crash&slash diatribe that occurs on other purist subjects (ahem, H2 for instance?).

Thanks to the knowledgeable posters here for keeping things respectful, you are being read by Thousands now.
I know that I speak for many of them in that adolescent jabs hurt the credibility of the responder, who -otherwise- has invaluable information for us lowly learners.