IBM Welcomes Two New Companies to Its 500-mile Range Lithium-Air Battery Project
April 20, 2012 11:08 AM
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IBM's Battery 500 Project research lab
The two newcomers are Asahi Kasei and Central Glass
Two well-known manufacturers have jumped on board IBM's Battery 500 Project, which is expected to provide lithium-air
batteries for electric vehicles
The two newcomers are Asahi Kasei, a leading chemical manufacturer and global supplier of separator membrane for lithium-ion batteries in Japan, and Central Glass, which is a global electrolyte manufacturer for lithium-ion batteries.
“These new partners share our vision of electric cars being critical components of building a cleaner, better world, which is far less dependent on oil,” said Dr. Winfried Wilcke, IBM’s Principle Investigator who initiated the Battery 500 Project. “Their compatible experience, knowledge and commitment to bold innovation in electric vehicle battery technology can help us transfer this research from the lab onto the road.”
While both manufacturers typically work with lithium-ion batteries, they'll be working on critical parts of lithium-air batteries for IBM. Asahi Kasei is expected to create a vital component for the lithium-air batteries using its knowledge in membrane technology, and Central Glass is expected to make a new class of electrolytes and additives to improve lithium-air batteries using its chemical experience.
“New materials development is vitally important to ensuring the viability of lithium-air battery technology,” said Tatsuya Mori, Director, Executive Managing Officer, Central Glass. “As a long-standing partner of IBM and leader in developing high-performance electrolytes for batteries, we’re excited to share each other’s chemical and scientific expertise in a field as exciting as electric vehicles.”
IBM's Battery 500 Project, which launched in 2009, aims to create lithium-air EV batteries that are capable of traveling 500 miles before needing to recharge. The idea is to make EV adoption more widespread by offering greener vehicles capable of matching the range of gasoline vehicles.
Today, most EVs can drive about 100 miles before needing to recharge their lithium-ion batteries. This is an issue, since gasoline vehicles are
capable of going four to five times that range on a single tank
. One option could be a larger battery, but that would weigh down the vehicle considerably.
Instead, IBM has been working on an alternative: lithium-air batteries. Lithium-air batteries have a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, mainly because of their primary fuel being oxygen from the atmosphere and the fact that they have lighter cathodes.
IBM eventually hopes to create a lithium-air battery that has an
energy density 10 times greater than that of lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion batteries for EVs have had a lot of problems over the last year, namely with fires and safety issues concerning vehicles like the
Fisker Karma plug-in
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Already 3 years in development.
4/21/2012 10:41:22 AM
I bet they already have a 300 mile range battery but, of course at what retail price point ?. What is the fire risk ? Potential toxicity of the battery if broken apart ?. A lot of the commercial features need working out before it goes into any sort of general use.
It seems lithium-ion cells are still the dominant battery being used and that might be due to their proven usage in laptops for so many years. Anything else exotic need a few years testing before it could go into retail. So it will be a couple of years wait for these guys. I bet the final range would be around 400 miles per 6 hour charge.
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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