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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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Japanese Firm Develops Battery That’s 90% Cheaper Than Lithium-Ion

APB Corp founder Hideaki Horie has received backing from a swath of Japanese firms to develop a new kind of battery that would significantly decrease production costs and improve safety, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The battery, which would replace the intricate battery parts such as metal-lined electrodes and liquid electrolytes with a resin material, would be more like mass producing steel instead of the complex production process that lithium-ion batteries undergo today.

This complex process requires pricey clean rooms that only a handful of industry players can afford.

What’s more, the resin-based battery would also be fire resistant even when punctured. Fire safety has dogged lithium-ion batteries for years, with multiple fires, some of which have grabbed headlines. One such fire was of lithium-ion batteries carried by a FedEx truck in 2016. The fire destroyed the truck and its contents, and was attributed to a safety loophole that doesn’t require low production or prototype lithium-ion batteries to undergo the same level of testing that mass production batteries are subject to prior to being transported.

Even more headline-grabbing were a series of alleged battery fires in Teslas that raised even more awareness for battery safety.

APB’s bipolar battery design would prevent traditional power bottlenecks that are present in lithium-ion batteries that cause batteries to overheat, instead allowing the whole surface of the battery to absorb any power surges that are often created by punctures.

So far, APB has raised close to $80 million, which is sufficient to startup one mass-production factory in Japan that will start next year, growing to a capacity of 1 gigawatt-hour by 2023.

While the battery addresses the safety and cost issues of lithium-ion batteries, the resin material is less conductive than metal, so the carrying capacity would be reduced.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Rick Stockton on July 11 2020 said:
    An 'all-polymer' battery pack will probably have a vast number of lower-power cells in Series, and very poor energy density (per unit mass, and per unit volume). They may or may not be able to be recharged as many times as leading edge Lithium batteries (upwards of 300x for 10% SOC). Any battery management system will attempts to balance among a larger number of lower voltage cells will need to have many more interconnects, with much more corresponding ASIC logic. Whether multiple "BMS units" could work in parallel is an interesting question, with respect to a battery pack built out of 'all-polymer' anodes and cathodes.

    Not all Lithium batteries are the same. I own two Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries, and they're pretty immune to extreme overheating (with resulting fire risk). They may be cheap to build right away, in both the raw materials consumed AND the costs of building manufacturing plants. But I will be surpised if they have any PERFORMANCE advantages, aside form reducing the risk of bad fires which are present (with most types of Lithium-Ion batteries, LFP excluded).

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