New Hitachi Li-ion batteries to last ten years

Apr 09, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Image credit: Hitachi

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hitachi has announced they may be able to double the life of rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries through the development of a new cathode material. The material was developed in conjunction with the company Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery, and while it will not be useful initially for small applications such as laptops, cameras or smartphones, it may be ideal for larger batteries in hybrid or electric vehicles, and for storing excess energy produced by wind farm generators.

The new battery uses more for the positive electrode and reduces the use of the far more expensive cobalt. Hitachi says the new cathode material is the composite oxide lithium manganese spinel (LIMn2O4), a that is much more stable than the previous cathode material. Its stability makes the cathode more resistant to attack by the , and inhibits leaching of cathode material into the electrolyte (both processes that eventually stop the battery holding a charge). The new cathode material extends the life of the battery to ten years from the more usual average working life of five years, and it also boosts the battery’s capacity. The battery will also be cheaper than current lithium-ion batteries because of the reduced use of cobalt.

Lead-acid batteries are usually used for large installations because of their longer working life of up to 10 years, and also because of their lower cost. Lithium-ion batteries have about quadruple the power density of the lead-acid batteries, so if their lifetime could be doubled and the cost reduced, they could replace the traditional batteries for the larger applications.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in almost all portable these days, and the new may be able to be scaled down for use in these gadgets. The battery is at prototype stage at the moment, but Hitachi expects it to be available for larger scale industrial uses probably early in 2011.

The new battery was produced with the aid of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, and Hitachi hopes its concentration on batteries for ecologically sustainable industries such as wind farms and will help it return to profitability.

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More information: Original Hitachi paper (Japanese): www.hitachi.co.jp/New/cnews/mo… h/2010/04/0405a.html

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User comments : 5

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deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2010
the key phrase here is: "...may be able to..."
joefarah
2 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2010
Wow... Come on now, this has been announced by others including Altair NanoTechnology for years. In fact Altair's NanoSafe batteries will run for 30 years with very little deterioration in charge capacity.

Still, if they can keep the cost of these batteries low, (Altair's are expensive), it's a breakthrough. It has to last the life of a car at a minimum.
DaveGee
5 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2010
Yea... I hear ya... My personal staff of scientific advisors have indicated that within the next year, I may very well be able to compress carbon into diamonds with little more than my gluteus maximus, all but erasing any debts I've amassed. As a result I will continue to spend money like a drunken sailor until further notice.
fixer
not rated yet Apr 09, 2010
Progress marches on, though perhaps not as fast as we would like it.
Still, even if this item comes to nothing there is a groundswell of tech lifting the performance of batteries generally.
Phrase for the day?
Hurry up and wait!
trekgeek1
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2010
It's almost too much, I can't wait. Longer lasting batteries, lithium air, lithium silica, etc. I feel like we are just on the brink of another battery revolution that will completely change the way we feel about batteries.