As reported in earlier issues of Tech Metals Insider, battery technology is seen by many as a hindrance in increasing the performance of battery powered devices, be it for limitations in battery life cycles or safety. A typical lithium ion battery pack will give users full performance for about 1,000 cycles after which the device often needs to be replaced. However, replacing battery packs, for example, in plug-in hybrid cars, is quite expensive and leads consumers to keep going with faded batteries, thereby diminishing the intended effects of the technology.
Researchers at Siemens, in a project funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, have developed a new kind of battery chemistry promising to eliminate both issues at the same time. In a published statement, Siemens says “it is now possible to create lithium-ion batteries that are very safe, even when they are overcharged, and that last for a much higher number of charge-discharge cycles (20,000).”
To accomplish this, the company uses novel lithium titanate anodes and lithium iron phosphate cathodes together in combination with new battery chemistry, the composition of which remains undisclosed.
After creating a complex simulation model describing the electrical, mechanical and thermal behavior of lithium ion batteries, a team of engineers at Siemens’ “Drive Technologies” division in Chemnitz, Germany, also developed a special battery management system controlling the cells’ charge level under various thermal conditions.
The new batteries were developed for use in Siemens’ own business areas with the intention to gain a competitive edge.
A request to Siemens to clarify whether the new technology will be licensed for general use has so far remained unanswered. If so, then the floodgates for products with more performance and a higher degree of longevity / sustainability would be opened so we hope for the best.