Panasonic plans to boost battery energy density 20% by 2030

Tudor Cibean

Posts: 172   +11
Staff
Why it matters: Improving battery density would allow EV manufacturers to increase the range of their vehicles while using identically-sized battery packs. They could also opt to make some models (like sports cars) lighter and more compact if maximizing driving range isn't a priority.

According to a new report from Reuters, Panasonic is working on improved battery chemistries that could increase energy density by 20 percent by the next decade. Considering that the best batteries on the market today stand at about 750 Wh/l, the company's future cells could increase that figure to an impressive 900 Wh/l.

Panasonic will reportedly achieve this by using a new mix of additives in the battery's electrolyte, which would, in turn, boost the maximum voltage of each individual battery cell from 4.2 volts up to 4.4 volts. Another method would be replacing more of the graphite in anodes with silicon-based materials, though this would make the batteries more expensive. Finally, the company plans to use single-crystal materials in the cathode to mitigate the effects of microcracking (small cracks gradually forming with charge cycles leading to degraded battery life).

Panasonic is a major supplier for EV manufacturers like Tesla, meaning that these advancements could increase the range of a Model S, for example, by 75 miles. However, there are other ways to improve the energy density in EV battery packs.

Using 4680 battery cells, which are both wider and taller than today's 2170 cells, can improve the range of electric cars by 16 percent due to the more efficient use of space. They also have the advantage of being significantly cheaper to manufacture. Panasonic will reportedly build a new factory in Kansas that will supply Tesla with 4680 batteries, with the Model Y probably being the first car to ship with them.

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Mjsun

Posts: 23   +47
With ICE approaching the hard limit of Carnot efficiency, and gas being about as energy dense as it has been for ages, I wonder what the upper limit is for energy density in rechargeable batteries. Wonder if we can get to a lunchbox size battery before going to Mr. Fusion.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,432   +7,877
There are considerable efforts by many researchers looking to increase energy density. It's great to see Panasonic contributing to the effort. If we look at this in terms of range taking 350 miles as an arbitrary baseline, then that 350 miles becomes 420 miles. A decent improvement though this might not be enough for some people, although, it seems like it is something that is realistic for the near future.

With ICE approaching the hard limit of Carnot efficiency, and gas being about as energy dense as it has been for ages, I wonder what the upper limit is for energy density in rechargeable batteries. Wonder if we can get to a lunchbox size battery before going to Mr. Fusion.
The upper limit of battery energy density is a tough question to answer at this point. A few years back, some research indicated that lithium batteries might be extended to about 10x the capacity of the batteries at that time, although, that was not given as a limit of the technology. Here's a dumbed-down article and a link to the research paper this article is based on.
https://phys.org/news/2019-01-tiny-silicon-particles-power-lithium.html
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b03198

There are also efforts at developing battery chemistries not based on lithium, too. For instance, there's this https://graphenemg.com/energy-storage-solutions/aluminum-ion-battery/ which is in a pilot production phase and also promises higher energy density, too.

Where we will end up is hard to predict.

I highly agree, though, ICE is very close to its limit while I think we are just getting started with battery tech and EVs.
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,286   +1,242
Current battery tech is flawed, we really need a battery revolution in the not too distant future. Hydrogen makes more sense as it can be created and stored using renewable energy. Batteries will always require raw materials of some kind.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,574   +1,484
Can I say that is a pathetic target. Talk about setting the bar really low. I suppose they think we'll still be using dinosaur tech Li Ion too.

Solid state batteries double the energy density straight up.
 

umbala

Posts: 797   +1,598
What happened to all those fancy new battery technologies this site kept posting about over the years? They promised 2x, 3x, 10x energy densities and 10 minute charging times. Now the new goal is to increase density by 20% in the next 8 years? That is a long time, and if that's the best they think we can do then we're in real trouble as far as electric cars, etc. are concerned.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 404   +267
Can I say that is a pathetic target. Talk about setting the bar really low. I suppose they think we'll still be using dinosaur tech Li Ion too.

Solid state batteries double the energy density straight up.
How can you make developing new technology sound so easy? Solid state batteries could double the energy density, but so far they haven't. Right now they are difficult to mass produce and expensive because of their complexity. I don't understand how someone can dismiss a battery manufacturer's improvement goals without knowing how difficult it's been to increase battery capacity. It not as if batteries are new. They've been around for well over 100 years.
 
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Tams80

Posts: 182   +139
What happened to all those fancy new battery technologies this site kept posting about over the years? They promised 2x, 3x, 10x energy densities and 10 minute charging times. Now the new goal is to increase density by 20% in the next 8 years? That is a long time, and if that's the best they think we can do then we're in real trouble as far as electric cars, etc. are concerned.

None of them so far have been found to be viable to mass produce.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,432   +7,877
Current battery tech is flawed, we really need a battery revolution in the not too distant future. Hydrogen makes more sense as it can be created and stored using renewable energy. Batteries will always require raw materials of some kind.
Current hydrogen tech is also flawed as most current commercial hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels and is far dirtier than even gasoline production.
 

Tams80

Posts: 182   +139
Current hydrogen tech is also flawed as most current commercial hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels and is far dirtier than even gasoline production.
Honestly, that's not a huge issue with hydrogen technology itself.

That'ss like saying electicity is flawed because so much is generated from fossil fuels.