Batteries and other electricity storage technologies are key to making the transition away from fossil fuels possible.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), meeting the world’s climate and renewable energy goals will require approximately 10,000 gigawatt hours of energy storage technology, including batteries.
To help the world meet that goal, Electrovaya Inc. EFLVF is developing a range of proprietary lithium-ion batteries that are low-cost, long-lasting and easy to scale to meet the energy needs of anything from an electric vehicle to an industrial energy storage system.
Lithium-Ion Batteries – A Much-Needed Game Changer In Energy Storage
Lithium-ion batteries have become a major catalyst in the energy transition. They make electric vehicles more efficient and cost-effective, provide better storage capacity for renewable energy on the grid and generally act as a safer, less environmentally hazardous option for powering consumer products of all kinds.
Before these, the last great leap in battery innovation occurred over a century ago in 1859 when the lead-acid battery was invented providing the first rechargeable battery on the market. This is the type still found in most combustion engine cars today.
While they can be recharged, lead-acid batteries are bulky, slow to charge and account for an estimated 44% to 70% of lead contamination in the environment. They also need to be replaced more often because the average lead-acid battery cycle life — the number of times it can be fully charged and then discharged before degrading — is between 300 and 550 cycles.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries can last for thousands of cycles. Electrovaya’s patented infinity batteries, for example, boast one of the longest lifespans in the industry, with tests showing they can operate for over 25 years with one cycle per day. That’s a cycle life of over 9,000.
Lithium-ion batteries are also more energy dense. Electrovaya’s infinity batteries generate around 200-watt hours per kilogram of battery weight compared to just 25 to 35 watt-hours per kilogram of a lead-acid battery.
While safer than lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries tend to overheat, which can lead to thermal runaway or combustion — as happened in 2014 when Boeing Co.’s BA 787 fleet was grounded after the planes’ batteries started catching fire. Electrovaya has addressed this by adding a proprietary ceramic separator to its infinity battery that provides better thermal protection to prevent fire propagation.
As a result of this innovation, the company can offer a battery platform that’s safer, more efficient, and longer lasting than many other batteries on the market. While the initial cost of infinity batteries is a little higher, the substantial increase in battery life brings the total cost of ownership down 55%, according to the company’s estimates.
Electrovaya Is Already Working On The Next Big Leap In Energy Storage Technology
To advance the tech even further, many researchers are working on developing solid-state batteries — designs that rely on solid rather than liquid electrolytes to conduct electricity. Getting rid of liquid electrolytes means the battery wouldn’t have the same leakage or overheating risks that current designs have.
It also makes even more energy-dense batteries possible, meaning they can be both lighter and more powerful. The solid-state tech being developed at NASA, for example, has yielded a battery that generates 500 watt-hours per kilogram and weighs up to 40% less than a liquid-based battery of the same capacity. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd.’s (SHE: 300750) latest Kirin battery technology, as another example, is rated at 160 watt-hours per kilogram.
Using a proprietary solid composite electrolyte, Electrovaya is working on solid-state battery technology of its own that uses lithium metal to create a more compact, energy-efficient design. In April, the company announced a major breakthrough: Coin-cell samples of the proprietary design reached 300 cycles with minimal degradation.
Electrovaya says these results acted as a proof of concept that a scaled version of the solid-state battery could potentially meet the energy requirements of electric vehicles. The company is now in the process of establishing a manufacturing process with the goal of beginning preproduction on large-format cells by next year.
Earlier this month, Electrovaya also announced plans to build its first U.S. gigafactory — a 137,000-square-foot plant with a current potential capacity of one gigawatt-hour per year — in New York next year. The new factory is expected to increase Electrovaya’s production capacity and improve supply chain security to keep production costs down.
Featured photo provided by Electrovaya
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