Lithium-ion batteries are widely considered to be the ‘next big thing’ in electric vehicle power systems, but their storage capacity is still a cause for concern. That could be about to change though as California-based Envia Systems announced this week that they’ve broken the world record for energy density in a rechargeable lithium-ion cell. Their automotive-grade battery reportedly has a density of 400 Watt-hours/kilogram (Wh/kg) – that’s two to three times higher than the batteries that are currently available. Best of all, Envia believes that their breakthrough could halve the current price of lithium-ion batteries, making the technology more accessible.
Envia Systems’ battery testing was conducted by the Electrical Power Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana and was sponsored by ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – ENERGY), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. According to Envia’s press release, the battery “demonstrated energy density between 378-418 Wh/kg for rates between C/3 to C/10 for a 45 Amp-hour (C/3) cell”, but the question on everyone’s lips is how has Envia achieved this breakthrough?
For the rather complex answer, we’ll pass you over to Dr. Sujeet Kumar, Envia Systems co-founder, president & CTO: “Since the inception of Envia, our product team has worked tirelessly and logged over 25 million test channel hours to optimally develop each of the active components of the battery: Envia’s proprietary SiC anode, HCMR cathode and EHV electrolyte. Rather than just a proof-of-concept of energy density, I am pleased that our team was successful in actually delivering 400 Wh/kg automotive grade 45 Ah lithium-ion rechargeable cells.” So there you go, the secret to the battery’s high energy density lies in Envia’s proprietary cathode, anode and electrolyte materials.
“Envia’s new battery technology represents exactly the kind of innovation and breakthroughs that ARPA-E is looking for from the American research and development community,” said ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar. “We hope that this low cost and high density battery technology enables wide spread adoption of electric vehicles across the country and around the world.