Literally every month for many years, we hear that some company has developed a battery of new type. The news of this kind usually said that soon a new battery hits the market, and electronic devices with such batteries will be able to work almost years. Earlier this year, the representatives of the U.S. Department of energy has even stated that "found the Holy Grail of the battery industry".
Unfortunately, nothing really changes. Lithium-ion batteries remain the same, the duration, smart watches, phones, tablets and laptops is also almost unchanged. But to create a new generation batteries trying many startups. Of gets some results, publishes regular news. Such startups are usually then disappears. Coincidence or conspiracy? Probably the first than the last.
Elon Musk, for which it is vital to create a more powerful battery, yet is the optimization of the existing production technologies of lithium-ion batteries. Through this it is possible to increase the capacity of the battery at a certain percentage. But there is a limit to everything, and optimization of batteries including.
Many researchers believe that to obtain batteries of new generation need to use new materials and new chemical processes. Some progress has been achieved by people from MIT who founded the company SolidEnergy. This is another startup that is developing lithium-metal batteries, capacity of which is twice the capacity of similar sized conventional batteries. According to representatives of the company, the technology is ready for commercial use.
In these batteries using a metal anode instead of graphite. The thickness of the layer of lithium is reduced here by about five times. Between the metal anode and the cathode is a hybrid electrolyte, consists of only non-combustible substances. According to the company, these batteries are not only more powerful than the traditional batteries, but also more secure.
However, this company is developing a battery with 2012. Previously, she also stated about the possibility of starting the commercial use of their batteries. Now head SolidEnergy announced that in November the company will introduce the first battery for drones. In 2017 it is planned to mass-produce batteries for phones and wearable devices. It probably will, but SolidEnergy is not the first startup that says that the batteries of a new type has come out in the market.
The problem of industry in the fact that now, as mentioned above, research in the field of batteries is engaged in too many companies. Projects a huge amount from the foam and liquid batteries to batteries, exotic compounds in the composition of the electrolyte. And there is no clear leader among all these companies there. Enthusiasm, this situation does not cause and among investors, who are not too willing to give money for new projects.
And money requires a lot. "In order to create a small industrial line for the production of batteries that are created by new technologies, it takes about $500 million," says Greg Seder, Professor of materials science at the University of California (Berkeley). A scientist leads a group of researchers who are trying to find new chemical reactions that would be suitable for use in new batteries. And even if a promising battery would be created to translate scientific work in the field of Commerce is not easy. Mobile users or producers of electric vehicles will test the new battery before you make a decision. Investments during that time will pay off, and the developer will be unprofitable. The scientist says to establish industrial line worth $500 million difficult, especially if the budget for the year is $5 million.
And even in the case when a new technology hits the market, a battery manufacturer of the new type will have to go through a difficult period of adjustment and finding buyers. But yet to this point no one has reached. So, the company Leyden Energy and A123 Systems have developed a new, promising technology, and has not entered the market. They just do not have enough money for it. Two promising energy startup, Sakti3 and Seeo, has been bought by other companies. Moreover, the amounts of these two transactions was much lower than what expected to be the first investors.
Largest electronics manufacturers, Samsung, LG and Panasonic are more interested in improving their current products to more of their functions than in getting the batteries of the new type. So continues the process of optimizing Li-Ion batteries, established in the 70-ies of the last century. It is hoped that SolidEnergy will work to break the cycle. published