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Battery Improvements - Pieces of the Puzzle

EV forever

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Apr 23, 2016
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5,771
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Elon said yesterday "I think like some of the retail investors have managed to put together several pieces of the puzzle and had the most insight"

Is there a location or forum where I can go the check out what the speculation on what these pieces are? I know it is only speculation, but still will be fun to follow along for 3 months while we wait for battery day.
 

Ocelot

Member
Jul 2, 2012
880
1,315
Canada
I have some puzzle pieces as well I cannot place.

The main one being, how directly does a million mile battery matter? For most cars, the interior/exterior rust/body, will be going significantly downhill if not gone, by half that. I understand the implications for the semi, but what am I missing?

Will Tesla use the batteries as stationary energy storage after the vehicle is pulled from the road?

Will you be able to charge faster? this to me is the main one. if you can charge your battery as fast as fueling a car, ICE will officially be done with.
 

gluu

Member
Jan 18, 2018
154
1,188
Chicago
I have some puzzle pieces as well I cannot place.

The main one being, how directly does a million mile battery matter? For most cars, the interior/exterior rust/body, will be going significantly downhill if not gone, by half that. I understand the implications for the semi, but what am I missing?

Will Tesla use the batteries as stationary energy storage after the vehicle is pulled from the road?

Will you be able to charge faster? this to me is the main one. if you can charge your battery as fast as fueling a car, ICE will officially be done with.

Elon has stated they're using design techniques for the vehicles to last 1 million miles, so it's beyond just the battery. For example, there's a filter attached to the electric motors that can filter shrapnel, which Munro mentioned will make the motor last darn near forever. The main value here is that depreciation will be significantly reduced vs ICE cars, and hence cost per mile.
 
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new_sneakers

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Oct 19, 2018
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Jeff Dahn described his team's research on the "million mile battery" and some history around the lithium ion cell technology, following the awarding of the Nobel Prize to other lithium ion pioneers, at a presentation at the University of British Columbia, where much of the work referenced in the presentation was done.

Slide 1

Presentation entitled “Who is William Reed? Basic Science done at UBC in 1965 will be Useful for Modern Li-ion Batteries”

Jeff Dahn, David Hall, Toren Hynes, Jessie Harlow, Jing Li, Wentao Song, Yulong Liu, Xiaowei Ma and Roby Gauthier – Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

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· Thanks for the introduction, and I’m very pleased to be here – I haven’t been to UBC in, I think, 20 years, something like that. So it’s nice to be back.

Slide 2

· I want to start, as Dave mentioned with the Nobel Prize in lithium ion, and explain how Stan Whittingham contributed to that.

· Then talk about how research at UBC played a role in moving lithium ion batteries forward

· Then some talk about modern lithium ion cells

· Finally, we’re going to find out, “Who is William Reed?” and how his work is going to make an important contribution to lithium ion cells, going forward.

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· David mentioned the Nobel Prize, I just want to talk about Stan Whittingham’s contributions only.
 
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new_sneakers

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Slide 3

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· So, there’s a class of materials called the layered chalcogenides, and titanium sulfide is just an example

· We have layers of titanium sandwiched between layers of sulphur, and these sandwiches are bonded together by weak Van der Walls forces

· Into the interlayer spaces, small atoms like lithium can be inserted.

· Graphite is the same, it’s another intercalation compound, so are clays.

· Many, many different materials can accommodate foreign species in between their layers.

· All that was needed was a clever guy to figure out how to make a battery system using an intercalation material.

Slide 4

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· That’s where Stan Whittingham comes in.

· He was a scientist at Exxon Research and Development in New Jersey

· He published this paper in 1975, and it was followed with another paper in Science.

· I’ll just read the abstract: it says “The electrochemical reaction of layered titanium disulfide with lithium giving the intercalation compound lithium titanium disulfide is the basis of a new battery system. This reaction occurs very rapidly and in a highly reversible manner at ambient temperatures as a result of structural retention – so when the lithium goes in, the structure’s not changed at all, layers just open up a little bit to accommodate the lithium. Titanium disulfide is one of a new generation of solid cathode materials.

· And here he shows the voltage versus the composition of lithium titanium disulfide for test cells that were made and operated under different conditions.

· This really was the beginning of the lithium battery era.
· I remember, when I was a graduate student here in 1978 to ’82. And in those days, obviously there was no internet, and to get publications from people meant either you had to go find them in the library or somebody would mail you a pre-print. Exxon compiled a blue bound book of all their papers on lithium intercalation compounds, and I remember that book sitting in our lab on our lunch table: that was the bible. These guys did really important work at the beginning: Whittingham, Gamble and Allan J. Jacobson.


Slide 5

Anyway, this is a slide I got from Stan

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· He explains how a lithium titanium disulfide battery works.

· You’ve got lithium metal as the negative electrode, and an electrolyte with dissolved lithium ions, and then the titanium sulfide on the other side here
.

· When you connect the electrodes by a wire, lithium atoms dissociate into ions that move through the electrolyte, electrons go through the wire, and then the lithium inserts between the TiS2 layers. And you can just reverse the current with an external power supply and recharge the system.



 

new_sneakers

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Slide 6

· This is another slide from Stan Whittingham.

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· Exxon had a display at the Chicago Electric Vehicle Show in 1978, where they showed these large lithium titanium sulfide cells that, you know, they were talking could power electric vehicles.

· Exxon was pretty high on this project at the time, but in 1980 they stopped their program for a variety of reasons, and I don’t want to go into those here, at this time.

· But Whittingham and the others in the program all moved into Academia. Whittingham went to the State University of New York, now I think he’s at Binghamton.
 

new_sneakers

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Oct 19, 2018
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Slide 7

· While this was going on, locally, here in BC, Rudy Haering, a physics professor, realised that naturally occurring molybdenum disulfide [MoS2] has the exact same basic structure as TiS2.

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· Along with Klaus Brandt, and Jim Stiles, who were post-docs in his lab, and Nelson Shen, these four guys showed that lithium molybdenum sulfide batteries can work well. At least as well as the lithium titanium sulfide batteries that Exxon had developed.

· Rudy Haering approached Norman Keevil, shown here [second from left], that’s Rudy Haering
, that’s Norman Keevil at the time, and he was the owner of Teck Mining Corporation, which still exists, as a big mining firm, and Teck has massive Molybdenum mines in BC.

· Keevil put in money, to support the formation of Moli Energy in 1978. Moli opened its offices in Burnaby, and in the meantime, the Japanese also started their efforts: Sony, Sanyo, Matsushita which is Panasonic, Hitachi, NTT and others. Things were really heating up.​
 

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new_sneakers

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Slide 8

· I found this in my pile of papers when I was getting ready for this lecture. This is from the Financial Post Western Business, March 24, 1979.

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· It’s about Teck funding Moli Energy and another startup, ok.

· I’ll just read you a couple of these paragraphs because they are kind of interesting. It says, “Commercial prototypes will be available in a couple of years. In theory the molybdenum disulfide battery will give electric vehicles the speed and range of gas and diesel powered cars and trucks. That’s 40 years ago.

· Then down here it says, “BC Hydro, which is providing all the research facilities, believes this kind of battery could make it possible to store electricity generated through low-demand periods for use at peak hours, thus reducing the need to build more costly generating facilities.” So this is grid energy storage. 40 years ago all of this was being talked about.





 

new_sneakers

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Slide 9

· In 1978, I came out to UBC to my graduate work.

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· In those days, you could go to a major university like UBC – I don’t know what the situation is now – but, then, you could show up, the university would support your graduate study for a period of time until you selected a supervisor. So I went around the physics department and talked to all kinds of people, and I then went into Rudy Haering’s office, and I’ll never forget what happened at that time.

· He had a crystal structure model of titanium sulfide. It was up on a shelf, he put it down on his desk in front of me and he said, “Jeff, these layering materials are incredible.” He took a piece of chalk off his chalkboard and he said, “You can take little foreign atoms like lithium, and you can stuff them in between the layers. And if you do this in an electrochemical cell, you can control the amount of lithium atoms that you put in here, just by changing the voltage of the cell. And in that way, the composition of the material is a continuous variable. It just opens a whole new realm of studies of materials in physics because, you know, pressure is something we can control, temperature is something we can control, but now we have the ability to control composition!” And he said, “Titanium sulfide is a semi-metal. But when we put in lithium it becomes a metal. It changes colour. You can change the colour, you can change an insulator into a metal.” I just thought this was so cool. So I joined his group, and that’s what really convinced me.

Actually, Wednesday, where was I? I was in Quesnel, B.C., visiting Rudy Haering, who I had not seen for 23 years. So, this invitation to come out here has been really quite cool for me. It was a wonderful visit with him; we reminisced about all kinds of things. It was awesome.
 

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new_sneakers

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Slide 9 (continued)

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· Along with Ross McKinnon, and Rudy, we did many basic studies with transition metal sulfide intercalation compounds.

· I went off and worked at the NRC for three years and then came back in 1985 and joined Moli Energy along with Ulrich von Sacken, David [Wilkinson], who’s here, and Dave Wainwright and others, and we began a program to develop lithium ion batteries in 1987. I’ve been talking now about what we call lithium batteries – they have lithium metal as one electrode. Lithium ion battery has graphite as a negative electrode.
 

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new_sneakers

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Slide 10

· In 1991, we published this paper from the work at Moli Energy. I had moved on to Simon Fraser [University] at the time.

upload_2020-7-17_14-6-54.png


· This was not the first paper about lithium ion batteries ever published. But in my opinion, it’s really the first paper that outlines the really considerable advantage of lithium ion cells over all other technologies. So this was a paper that people would read and be convinced that lithium ion was a good thing.
 

new_sneakers

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Slide 11

· What I want to talk about today is how lithium ion cells have become so good, and why they fail and then how to make them better.

upload_2020-7-17_14-8-54.png


· Like I mention, the lithium ion cell has a graphite negative
, and nowadays a transition metal oxide positive electrode usually, again, a layered structure of transition metals [white], and oxygens top and bottom [red]

· The earliest lithium ion cells used lithium cobalt oxide as the positive electrode

· The reason we use them is they have the highest energy density, the longest lifetime, almost no self-discharge, convenient sizes and shapes, they’re affordable, they can be recharged quickly, and they have a long charge-discharge cycle life too.​
 

new_sneakers

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Slide 12

· Another contribution from British Columbia is this:

upload_2020-7-17_14-10-13.png


· Jan Reimers and Ulrich von Sacken at E-One Moli Energy at Maple Ridge showed for the first time in 2000 that lithium ion cells designed for power can out-perform Nickel metal hydride and NiCad.

· This is a graph showing you the power density in Watts per kilogram of a battery based on either NiCad or Nickel metal hydride or lithium ion in blue and red, as a function of the time of pulse delivered by that cell.
 

new_sneakers

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Slide 13

· The lithium ion cell could outperform this NiCad nickel metal hydride in power applications, and this led to the first introduction of lithium ion-powered power tools.

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· E-One Moli partnered with Milwaukee Electric Tool to introduce the first lithium ion power tools. This is a picture of what one looks like.

· After that, many, many other companies raced in to form, you know, build drills, and saws, and lawn-mowers these days, and e-bikes.

· It’s impossible to buy a cordless power tool that’s not powered by lithium-ion today.

· Moli Energy really is the first people to push lithium ion into power tools

· The next obvious step after that is electric vehicles, but it really took Tesla to make that leap in 2006 to 2008 with the Roadster.
 

new_sneakers

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Slide 14

· Now I’m going to jump ahead to 2019.

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· This is something that came into my email inbox, January of 2019 – a year ago, roughly.

· This guy, James Arbib, had a webinar, and in this, one of his key takeaways is “Electric vehicles today are expected to last 500,000 miles, and this is expected to increase to one million miles over the next decade.” So if you drive 20,000 miles a year, that’s fifty – fifty year car – it’s pretty crazy!

· When I read this, I was thinking, “Really? Are they that good?”

· Anyway this guy’s really talking about situations where your vehicle’s transporting others while you’re at work, so autonomous driving, or robot taxis, or whatever the case may be.

· Then maybe, it’s 100,000 miles per year. And are lithium ion batteries equal to this challenge?
 

new_sneakers

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Oct 19, 2018
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Slide 15

· On September 6, of 2019, this paper from my lab appeared in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

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· The title is not one that you would think would garner a lot of interest.

· We published this paper because people coming in with new so-called “beyond lithium-ion” battery technologies were comparing their data with what I would call shitty lithium-ion cells, ok? They’re saying oh, we’re better than lithium-ion, well of course, you picked the worst lithium-ion, you’re going to look better.

· Anyway, in this paper, with no real intent at all, I put this sentence in the bottom of the abstract, it might be the last sentence of the abstract, it said: “We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometres (a million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage.”


· The very next day, this appeared on the Electrek website: “Tesla battery researcher unveils new cell that could last a million miles in ‘robot taxis’.

· This guy realised – he knew – that my research is funded by Tesla. This is the Tesla battery researcher that he was talking about.

· This went viral! It appeared all kinds of media reports in various websites like Electrek, Wired, Charged, EV, whatever.


· It went bananas. It went so crazy that I got this letter from the President of the Electrochemical Society which publishes JES, ok? And this letter came in November 28, and she says here, “Look. You possibly already know the impressive numbers your article has generated. I’m listing them again. Since the article was released on September the 6th, it’s been downloaded over 30,000 times, received over 51,000 abstract views, making it one of the most read articles in the entire digital library of the Electrochemical Society,” you know, in only a f- two months, right? “And furthermore, the wide-ranging media coverage it has generated has brought a new level of recognition to the Electrochemical Society.” You know, I’d never gotten a letter like this before. We didn’t publish this in a high-impact journal. The Electrochemical Society has an impact factor of 3.2.

· It just goes to show that you don’t have to publish in Nature to get action!
 

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