Why The Lithium Battery Has Not Been Eliminated

- Oct 25, 2016-

According to foreign media reports, since the 70s of last century, the birth of lithium batteries successfully entered everyone's life, but in the era of technological advances so rapidly, no new energy storage technology can replace its Status, which can not help but let people think, has been through the clutter of the researchers in the end what difficulties encountered?

Earlier this year, the head of US Department of Energy Alternative Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) Williams seized the major media headlines overnight, and let him cause such a great concern was only to accept the "Guardian "Interview in a word -" We have made a great breakthrough in the field of batteries. "


Battery technology has not yet made a breakthrough

But the breakthrough is a breakthrough, but when to use or unknown. Previously, ARPA-E supported more than 75 research projects related to energy storage, which have yielded satisfactory results, but have not yet made a breakthrough in producing small, low-cost energy storage devices.

Despite the efforts, many start-ups are close to producing an energy storage device that combines economy, security, compactness and high energy density, and can reduce its cost to $ 100 per kilowatt-hour. However, if the energy storage device price control in this level, will inevitably lead to galvanic effect (galvanic effect, the so-called galvanic corrosion effect is due to different corrosion potential, resulting in dissimilar metals in the same medium at the local corrosion ).

Only renewable energy can solve this problem, they can make electric vehicles lighter, lower cost, but there is a slot it can not be overcome, that is renewable energy only in the sunny or stormy more stable.

Unfortunately, the commercialization of such new batteries is far behind the pace of human transfer from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Even bold as Maske, have to admit that the current electric car manufacturers in improving the lithium battery has not made much progress.


Break the inherent thinking can be a breakthrough

In fact, many researchers believe that energy storage devices in order to achieve leapfrog development, we must break the existing barriers, the use of a new chemical process and physical appearance. The only way to get rid of the original structure, to break the lithium-ion battery in the past decade, consumer electronics, electric vehicles and network-level storage systems and other areas of the rule achieved.

This year in May, the US Department of Energy (DOE) organized a "beyond the lithium battery," the theme of the seminar, which is the ninth anniversary of the birth of the seminar, each year researchers gathered together to explore the development of new energy storage The technical challenges that equipment faces.

SolidEnergy Systems founder Hu Qichao has created a new lithium metal battery, which significantly increased the energy density of the battery, significantly beyond the existing products.

Hu Qichao at the seminar also described the new lithium metal battery R & D mentality, he believes that up to ten years of research and development process, the main obstacles encountered is how to turn an idea into a product. This is more difficult for the battery, because once you improve a certain aspect of performance, it may affect the performance of the other. Therefore, we must make difficult trade-offs and choices.


R & D funding is seriously inadequate

In addition, the energy storage research also faces the thorny issue of multiplicity: the current battery technology blossom, foam batteries, fluid batteries and chemical batteries have their own loyal fans. So no one knows which battery in the end will eventually become a big winner take-all, which resulted in decentralized research funding.

Data from the research firm Lux Research show that the energy storage sector has absorbed more than $ 4 billion in investment over the past eight years, but only $ 40 million has been supported by start-ups in the field. Tesla, a super factory to get $ 5 billion of funds, the gap between heaven and earth, I am afraid that in the short term can not make up.

"It takes about $ 500 million to build a complete small production line, and you're going to have to optimize everything," says Seidel, a professor of materials at the University of California at Berkeley. "To get the favor of carmakers, Years of testing the battery system, which is only $ 5 million a year to get investment in the company, it is impossible to complete the task.

Even if manufacturers can eventually bring new technology to market, they will still face the problem of expanding production and finding buyers. Previous Leyden energy and A123 system is the best negative example, although the hand of new technology, but still due to lack of funds, demand is not up to expectations and failure. In addition, there are two start-up companies Seeo and Sakti3 has become a hapless, they are in the new battery before the low-cost acquisition of production.

At the moment, the world's Big Three battery Samsung, LG and Panasonic also adjusted the strategy, they become more conservative, tend to improve on existing technology, rather than drastic revolution in the battery. In addition, the battery start-up companies also have a reluctance to mention the worries: since the birth of the lithium battery did not stop the pace of evolution, even if the pace of the old guy can not keep up, then talk about a new era What?