November 04, 2009
Ionic Liquid Battery To Beat Lithium Ion?

Yet another claimant to the future best battery throne.

A spinoff from Arizona State University says it can develop a metal-air battery that dramatically outperforms the best lithium-ion batteries on the market, and now it has the funding it needs to prove it.

The amount of battery innovation seems to have really picked up in recent years. Clamor for better batteries for cell phones and laptop computers provides big demand today. At the same time, a big push by car companies to develop more hybrids and pluggable hybrids provides assurances that a far larger source of demand is building. Government policy provides incentives for the latter as well as money for research. Hence lots of start-ups.

An order of magnitude higher energy density? That'd be a game changer if it can work well in real world use.

The U.S. Department of Energy last week awarded a $5.13-million research grant to Scottsdale, AZ-based Fluidic Energy toward development of a metal-air battery that relies on ionic liquids, instead of an aqueous solution, as its electrolyte.

The company aims to build a Metal-Air Ionic Liquid battery that has up to 11 times the energy density of the top lithium-ion technologies for less than one-third the cost.

With great batteries the looming threat of Peak Oil becomes a lot less menacing. 95% of all transportation energy comes in the form of liquid fossil fuels and transportation is the sector most vulnerable to declining oil production. Electric power for cars and trucks would let keep flowing the goods and people even as less oil flows.

Update: Here's an ultracapacitor start-up.

An MIT spinoff just getting off the ground received a huge helping hand from the U.S. Department of Energy on Monday. FastCAP Systems, of Cambridge, MA, received a two-and-a-half-year, $5.35 million grant in the first round of funding ever issued by the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The company aims to commercialize a nanotube-enhanced ultracapacitor, an energy storage device that could greatly reduce the cost of hybrid and electric vehicles and of fast-responding grid-scale energy storage, making it easier to integrate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind-based power.

Capacitors can deliver current faster than batteries and stand between the batteries and the engine and regenerative braking system.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 November 04 10:38 PM  Energy Biomass

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