Making a better battery than current models requires dealing with a host of different problems in the fields of materials science, chemistry and manufacturing processes. We commonly hear in the news that new advances have been made in the first two categories, but on the other hand it has been repeatedly complained that the problems in the third category cannot be remedied: figuring out how companies can come up with solutions Take science and turn it into a real and usable product.
Recently, a company called StoreDot claimed the development of a new battery that can be charged in 5 minutes while being installed in electric cars, and it has also agreed to speak to the media.
Unfortunately, the answers to the questions posed were not exactly what was expected. “Thank you for your interest in our product,” the company said in response to questions from news agencies. “We are now in the process of pure research and development, and we can not share any information or answer any questions.” But the company instead had an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
In this article, we’ve gathered all the information from the Guardian interview, as well as information from the official StoreDot website, to get a general idea of the company’s approach, and then compare everything to information we’ve heard about battery technology before. What you will read next is an overview of the company’s technology and the challenges it must overcome in order to take its conceptual work and turn it into a real product.
StoreDot has been using an idea that has occupied the minds of researchers in various laboratories and startups for a relatively long time. But the company is taking a risk and wants to use these ideas in a different way than previously promised.
The gamble that StoreDot has made is that it does not consider the charging range of an electric car to be the most important factor: the question is how quickly this range can be increased. So while the company is researching technologies that bring more capacity to lithium-ion batteries, it is taking the opposite path and sacrificing part of its battery capacity at a higher speed.
In other words, the main gamble is that people prefer to travel 300 km with their electric car with 5 minutes of charging. Instead of traveling one hour on a 1-hour charge, walk 600 km.
Charging the battery leads to a lot of heat, now if you want to charge the battery faster, the heat generated will be even more.
What is the meaning of this gamble at the hardware level? The issue will mainly return to heat management. As anyone who plugs in their laptop while using it knows, charging the battery will generate a lot of heat. Now, if you want to charge the battery faster, the heat generated will be even higher.
To solve this problem, StoreDot is basically building a long battery with plenty of space between each cell. These cells are very far apart, and the battery body is equipped with cavities that move airflow between all components. The battery is also charged in a special base equipped with several fans that direct air to the battery and control the heat.
Anyone can do this with current battery technology, but there will be a price to be paid: much lower power density, meaning the battery must be significantly larger to hold the same amount of charge. StoreDot is working on a new technology that allows for much higher charge density. Finally, the battery should hold the same amount of charge as current batteries, even though it uses less battery material. If you were willing to charge current battery technology at a much slower rate, you would obviously have access to much higher energy capacity in the same dimensions. And this is an issue that different people have been looking at from different angles for a long time. Fortunately, from the vague descriptions the company provides on its website and the information provided to the Guardian, a general understanding of what is happening can be gained.
Sulfur usually causes unwanted chemical reactions inside the battery, but silicon does not suffer from such problems.
All lithium-ion batteries require electrodes made of materials that can store lithium ions when they are not transferring charges from one electrode to another. One of the most commonly used materials is graphite; A form of carbon that consists of several layers of graphene plates that allow lithium ions to place themselves between them. But there are other materials, such as sulfur and silicon, that can store more lithium. Sulfur usually causes unwanted chemical reactions inside the battery, but silicon does not suffer from such problems.
So why not everyone start using silicone? Because by storing a large amount of lithium in it, the silicon begins to expand. The expansion and contraction cycles that occur when charging and discharging damage all the tiny structures inside the silicon, and on a larger scale we will see damage to the structural integrity of the battery itself. Therefore, understanding how to manage volume changes is one of the key issues in making silicon-based lithium-ion batteries.