IBM Research is beginning an ambitious project that it hopes will lead to the commercialization of batteries that store 10 times as much energy as today's within the next five years. The company will partner with U.S. national labs to develop a promising but controversial technology that uses energy-dense but highly flammable lithium metal to react with oxygen in the air. The payoff, says the company, will be a lightweight, powerful, and rechargeable battery for the electrical grid and the electrification of transportation.10 times the energy in the next 5 years sounds good to me. Best of luck to them.
Lithium metal-air batteries can store a tremendous amount of energy--in theory, more than 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram. That's more than ten-times as much as today's high-performance lithium-ion batteries, and more than another class of energy-storage devices: fuel cells. Instead of containing a second reactant inside the cell, these batteries react with oxygen in the air that's pulled in as needed, making them lightweight and compact.
"With all foreseeable developments, lithium-ion batteries are only going to get about two times better than they are today," he says. "To really make an impact on transportation and on the grid, you need higher energy density than that." One of the project's goals, says Narayan, is a lightweight 500-mile battery for a family car. The Chevy Volt can go 40 miles before using the gas tank, and Tesla Motors' Model S line can travel up to 300 miles without a recharge.
In related news:
The Cleantech Group’s numbers show an uptick in venture-capital funding for batteries in the first quarter, even as overall US venture investments fell to the lowest level since 1997, according to the National Venture Capital Association.The more battery research the better.
Spurred by federal cash, electric cars, and demand for ever more powerful gadgets, investment in advanced batteries has bucked the recessionary slump and, energy analysts say, could help the economy recover.
Cleantech tracked $94 million in advanced-battery investments in the previous quarter, up substantially from a recession-affected $29 million in the last quarter of 2008 and up slightly from $90 million in the first quarter of that year.
via Technology Review