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Waterloo’s silicon battery technology promises a 40 to 60 per cent increase in energy

Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
GM connection mentioned in the article:

https://uwaterloo.ca/stories/waterloo-researcher-leading-charge-next-generation-battery

I'm no chemical engineer...so would love to get some feedback from people in the know. This SOUNDS like a significant breakthrough that will likely benefit only GM in the auto sector. Agree/disagree?
 

ggr

Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
Mar 24, 2011
6,976
27,511
San Diego, CA
Yes, indeed! I just invented a new vapor battery, in which the anode, cathode and electrolyte are all vapor! The charge rate is great, the energy density in Wh/kg is great, the only problem is that while it is very light, it's actually very large. Actually the other problem is that it's hard to solder the contacts on to it.
 

Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
Let's discuss this again after they produce the first 1000 kWh worth of actual, physical, batteries. Vapor batteries are always quite impressive.
Fair to say you are sceptical?

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Yes, indeed! I just invented a new vapor battery, in which the anode, cathode and electrolyte are all vapor! The charge rate is great, the energy density in Wh/kg is great, the only problem is that while it is very light, it's actually very large. Actually the other problem is that it's hard to solder the contacts on to it.
ditto?

- - - Updated - - -

Li-ion Batteries Keep Improving, But for What Application? - IEEE Spectrum
 

trils0n

2013 P85
Feb 12, 2013
1,527
1,947
SF Bay Area
I don't see why it would only benefit GM. Tesla has started using silicon in their 90kWh battery. Silicon anodes are typically plagued by short lifespan. If their research actually materializes as a viable product, I assume it would help Tesla, or anyone else, using silicon in the anode.
 

Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
July 17, 2015

The energy density improvement is possible without the need to increase the physical size of the battery pack. That’s because the lithium-ion battery cells now uses silicon for part of its anode, Musk said. Lithium-ion battery cells typically use graphite for anode.Lots of research has looked into the benefit of using silicon for the anode because silicon can hold a lot more lithium ions. But it also can expand so much that it fractures and becomes unstable. Tesla uses Panasonic’s lithium-ion cells.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2015/07/17/why-tesla-rolls-out-better-ev-batteries/

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I don't see why it would only benefit GM. Tesla has started using silicon in their 90kWh battery. Silicon anodes are typically plagued by short lifespan. If their research actually materializes as a viable product, I assume it would help Tesla, or anyone else, using silicon in the anode.
The article references a partnership of sorts between GM and the research being performed at Waterloo...so I'm assuming GM has first dibs. Does anyone have more info?
 

Jeff N

Active Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,287
2,947
Enquiring minds want to know if this silicon anode technology is part of the LG Chem cells that will starting being made next year for the Chevy Bolt and other "200-mile" cars. That could explain how they are managing to tuck ~60 kWh into a smaller car without using the Tesla/Panasonic NCA chemistry. I think that article about the Waterloo work also suggests that it could see commercial use as soon as next year.... Any licensing preferences that GM may or may not have from assisting on this work could also be part of the explanation for why GM is only paying $145 per kWh when other LG customers are apparently paying more.

Or not.
 

eye.surgeon

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
1,368
2,014
California
It must be time for the daily revolutionary breakthrough in batteries-- that will never make it past the lab.

Consider that the battery has been around about the same time as the internal combustion engine. When was the last ICE revolution that doubled horsepower while halving fuel consumption?

Progress will be steady and incremental. There's no miracles to be had here.
 

Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
Enquiring minds want to know if this silicon anode technology is part of the LG Chem cells that will starting being made next year for the Chevy Bolt and other "200-mile" cars. That could explain how they are managing to tuck ~60 kWh into a smaller car without using the Tesla/Panasonic NCA chemistry. I think that article about the Waterloo work also suggests that it could see commercial use as soon as next year.... Any licensing preferences that GM may or may not have from assisting on this work could also be part of the explanation for why GM is only paying $145 per kWh when other LG customers are apparently paying more.

Or not.
I like this theory.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,255
3,229
Timonium, Maryland
I'm always suspicious of this kind of press release science. When they have a working battery in a working car I'll become a believer. For now it's all claims without much proof in the real world. But more power to them.
 

Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
I don't see why it would only benefit GM. Tesla has started using silicon in their 90kWh battery. Silicon anodes are typically plagued by short lifespan. If their research actually materializes as a viable product, I assume it would help Tesla, or anyone else, using silicon in the anode.
Also, It is patented...and it's not clear by who. So the announcement may help some companies...and not others.
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,451
9,941
Clark Co, WA
From what I've read because silicon expands massively when it absorbs lithium ions (actually it can't be the silicon atoms, it must be the crystalline structure), anodes with high levels of silicon have a short life expectancy. The Panasonic batteries with some silicon have about as much as they can handle before the anodes start getting fragile. It may be possible to come up with an anode the is flexible enough to expand and contract many thousands of times before failure. But like many in this thread have said, I want to see it working in the real world first. I also want to see it working for some period of time. A battery that can only be charged a few times before failure isn't very useful for a frequent charging application.
 
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Ktowntslafan

Member
Nov 3, 2014
715
17
Canada
From what I've read because silicon expands massively when it absorbs lithium ions (actually it can't be the silicon atoms, it must be the crystalline structure), anodes with high levels of silicon have a short life expectancy. The Panasonic batteries with some silicon have about as much as they can handle before the anodes start getting fragile. It may be possible to come up with an anode the is flexible enough to expand and contract many thousands of times before failure. But like many in this thread have said, I want to see it working in the real world first. I also want to see it working for some period of time. A battery that can only be charged a few times before failure isn't very useful for a frequent charging application.

“The economical flash heat treatment creates uniquely structured silicon anode materials that deliver extended cycle life to more than 2000 cycles with increased energy capacity of the battery,” said Professor Chen.

"More than 2000 cycles" is significantly better then "a few times". Charging daily, this would suggest a lifespan of 5.5 years at a minimum. Do I have that right?
 

paulkva

Member
Jul 22, 2013
703
235
Falls Church, VA
Yes, indeed! I just invented a new vapor battery, in which the anode, cathode and electrolyte are all vapor! The charge rate is great, the energy density in Wh/kg is great, the only problem is that while it is very light, it's actually very large. Actually the other problem is that it's hard to solder the contacts on to it.

Sounds like you need ... wireless charging. :rolleyes:
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,674
1,484
Huntington Beach, CA
They claim more than 2,000 charge cycles. If a daily driver, charging, say, 5 days a week, 50 weeks per year, it should last about 8 years.
Hmmmm, where have I heard that lifespan before?
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,469
South Surrey, BC
I'll quote Elon Musk on this, yet another, breakthrough battery claim:

“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technology is please send us a sample cell, okay. Don’t send us PowerPoint, okay, just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats, that would be great.”
 
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Cyberax

Member
Jul 28, 2015
363
162
Seattle, WA
Consider that the battery has been around about the same time as the internal combustion engine.
If you want to be pedantic, batteries existed long before the internal combustion engine. They even predate railroads.

However, lithium batteries first became available for large-scale commercial applications only in the late 90-s. It took them nearly 30 years to get there - the first Li-Ion cells were developed in early 70-s!

Batter. Development. Is. Hard.

However, we do know that the current battery technology is far from optimal - there are laboratory samples that easily have 3-4 more energy density, but that are not viable because of rapid degradation or chemical instability. Is it a stretch to believe that somebody managed to find a way to move technology from lab to actual production?
 

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