Possible Next Battery Chemistry Up To 5Xs the Energy Density of Li-Ion!

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, May 4, 2016.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] This story may sound like a broken record … Except with the name Toyota behind it, I bet we will see it sooner than later.

    [​IMG]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – May 4, 2016

    An i3 Li-Ion packed and ready for install.

    Most of us have been there. You are in an airport and your smartphone notifies you of 15 percent power remaining. You look around and every USB charging station and/or wall outlet is currently in use. You know the drill. Drop brightness to zip, kill notifications, manually disable everything, manually enable and disable the screen all the while hoping that there is enough power to receive that important e-mail that is headed your way…

    Do you want a 350 mile range battery electric car but do not want to haul around the 1,800 pounds of the most advanced Li-Ion batteries to receive it?

    Toyota has a possible solution to both headaches and many more power intensive applications if one of their latest R&D findings pan out.

    Advanced battery research conducted by scientists at the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA) have announced a new breakthrough involving magnesium batteries that may allow smaller, longer-lasting batteries for everything from cars to cell phones.


    Magnesium, a multivalent ion, has been theorized as a safer and more energy-dense alternative to current lithium-ion battery chemistry. A Li-ion with a charge of +1 provides only a single electron for an electrical current, a Mg-ion has a charge of +2, which means Mg-ions can provide twice the electrical current of Li-ions if present with the same density. Mg-ion batteries would also be safer and less expensive than Li-ion batteries. However, the additional charge on a multivalent ion creates other problems that have hampered the development of Mg-ion batteries.

    According to David Prendergast, a DOE nanoscience research scientist,
    Regarding safety, Lithium metal in its natural state is also unstable and can ignite when exposed to air. In order to make lithium metal safe for batteries, ions are taken from the lithium metal substrate and embedded into graphite rods used for the anode, which are then used in the batteries. That lack of actual metal however, limits the amount of power a battery can store. Magnesium, on the other hand, is a very stable metal with the potential to store much more energy. But until now, research on magnesium-based batteries was limited because a magnesium friendly electrolyte did not exist.

    Compared to lithium and carbon anode material, magnesium has a (theoretical) energy density per unit mass under half that of lithium and a volumetric energy density around 50% higher. In comparison to metallic lithium anodes, magnesium anodes have not exhibited dendrite formation during charging – read far longer lasting, which may allow magnesium metal to be used without an intercalation compound at the anode. The ability to use a magnesium anode without an intercalation layer raises the theoretical maximum relative volumetric energy density to around 5 times that of a lithium ion cell! <-- This is a really big deal.

    Research on H2 FCVs to Collaboration on Battery Chemistry to Discovery

    Toyota Principal Scientist and chemical engineer Rana Mohtadi was researching Hydrogen storage materials and their application to fuel cell technology. When hearing her fellow researchers discussing the challenges of developing an electrolyte for a practical magnesium battery, Mohtadi realized her hydrogen storage material might just solve the longstanding problem. With further experimentation and the help of fellow researchers, her theory proved correct.

    Rana Mohtadi:
    Just as exciting as the discovery itself, is how Toyota’s culture of diversity and collaboration played a key role.

    Energy Storage Group Manager Paul Fanson:
    It Will Take Some Time However

    The potential of this dramatically improved battery could take 20 years of R&D before magnesium batteries reach the consumer marketplace. To help move the process along, Toyota’s scientists aren’t keeping their discovery to themselves. Fellow researcher Oscar Tutusaus, who collaborated with Rana on the discovery, explained,
    A paper detailing their discovery “An Efficient Halogen-Free Electrolyte for Use in Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries” was recently published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Vol. 54, Issue 27).


    500+ mile range EVs and smartphones that really do last more than a few days. While power using them!

    “The future's so bright I gotta wear shades.“ :)
  2. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Other than the unbalanced chemical equation, it should work. ;) Just kidding on the latter, I don't know whether it should work. Aren't magnesium fires spectacular when they occur?
    08EscapeHybrid and xcel like this.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bill:

    Good catch. The chemistry infographic from a Chemistry site is just a placeholder until I get the YouTube vid uploaded. Should be another 10-minutes or so.

    To get Mg to light off takes some real punch.

    BillLin likes this.
  4. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Exciting! ... If not a bit ironic, .. that the discovery was made as a result of Toyota's pursuit of Hydrogen storage (1:55/3:45).

    Still, I'm skeptical, considering this is coming from Toyota ( heavily vested in hybrids) .... where it's in their best interest to convince you that lithium ion BEVs are "soon to be outdated".

    Seeing is believing, .. so let's see it Toyota. Put magnesium batteries in a BEV and sell it., ... then I'll consider it and the technology in my future car purchase decision making.
    BillLin and xcel like this.
  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    While I'm on the subject.

    We quite often hear about these battery breakthroughs. But if someone (especially a big someone, like Toyota) has a big battery breakthrough. Then wouldn't they have a cell produced in very short order? Surely it wouldn't take them more than a couple of months. I mean, ... it's not like they're building a bio-fuel plant or a nuclear plant, where you're not sure how everything is going to scale. All they have to do is produce one little AA sized cell and test it. How hard can that be?

    My guess would be that a "breakthrough" is usually not as good as it sounds. It just means you've solved one laboratory problem. But now that you've decided to go down the road that this new discovery takes you,... you will have to solve about 10,000 new laboratory problems that the new path takes you to. In order to finally get a working, durable, price competitive product.
    BillLin and xcel like this.
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Once again , journalists jump the gun in search of a "story". I only believe these things when I see it in the dealership lot or showroom. Yawn. But if Toyota embraces a "new" technology , you can bet that they have done their homework.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  7. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

  8. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Interesting that the battery doesn't have any dendrites when charged? This is one of the main reasons batteries die along with heat. Wonder if there's a way to make a zinc magnesium battery?
  9. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    So, much poorer theoretical energy density per unit mass than Li-Ion? Even if Toyota solves the cathode problem with magnesium batteries, it's still unlikely they will replace Li-Ion because of the latters' greater energy density per unit mass.
    BillLin likes this.
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    we'll see-
    Remember perhaps 6 years ago-on the forum
    there was a report of a TX small company that had developed a 1,000x denser capacitor-
    1,000 denser than previous capacitors-
    much lighter than batteries-last forever-"recharges in seconds not hours"-
    maybe it was about about the same time the Volt was released-folks whining about the Volt's range and not exceptional gasoline mpg?
    it was worth keeping in mind
    Well-years later-not a peep- about any super capacitor break thru

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