Electrode innovation promises to triple EV battery capacity, faster charging

Electrode innovation promises to triple EV battery capacity, faster charging

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In particular, Nawa promises to increase battery capacity by a factor up to three while at the same time reduce charging time down to minutes instead of hours. What’s more, the new technology will quintuple the battery lifetime. And that’s not all – the technology is also said to be more eco-friendly since it relies less on rare-earth materials.

Applied to an electric vehicle, an advanced lithium-ion battery with an Ultra Fast Carbon Electrode could double the kWh stored, meaning EVs could draw on more power to go further, or faster, making 1,000 km ranges commonplace in a mass market EV. Charging time could be reduced to as little as five minutes for an 80 per cent charge (see video).

The technology is based on an electrode design called Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube (VACNT). With this approach, batteries are no longer limited to powder-based systems, the company says. VACNT can be used with existing and advanced new battery chemistries.

Currently one of the major limitations of battery power, energy and lifecycle is the design and material used for the electrode. Based on inefficient powders, existing electrodes have low electrical, thermal and ionic conductivity, along with poor mechanical behaviour when discharged and recharged, and can also suffer from early delamination and degradation leading to safety and lifecycle issues.

Based on Nawa’s vertically-aligned carbon nanotube design, which is also the basis of next-generation ultracapacitors, the company’s Ultra Fast Carbon Electrode combines the highest ionic conductivity – thanks to a 3D fully accessible nanostructure – with the highest electrical and thermal conductivity, provided by its arrangement of 100 billion nanotubes per sq cm, the company says.

Comparison of conventional and Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube electrodes. © Nawa Technologies

The company’s 3D electrode geometry can solve the vast majority of performance constraints faced by battery makers, boosting battery power by a factor of ten, energy storage by up to three, lifecycle by up to five and reduce charging time down to minutes instead of hours. With the electrodes accounting for almost 25 per cent of the total battery cost and today’s global lithium-ion battery market worth in excess of $35 billion, Nawa also believes that its new design can offer significant cost savings.

Both electrode products are a result of six years research during which Nawa developed its VACNT growth process for next-generation ultracapacitors, having now reached the capacity to grow VACNT on both sides of a one metre width aluminium substrate in a roll-to-roll manner, with no solvents or binders, reducing the electrode cost on a $/Wh basis by 30 %.

The technology will be available within 12 months. It will also be available as a full 3D anode or cathode, where the VACNT themselves serve as a framework on which lithium material can be coated.

In terms of eco-friendliness, the technology is easily recyclable and disposable without harm at the end of its lifecycle. And since less material is required to build a battery with a given capacity, Nawa assumes the CO2 footprint reduced by 60%.

Since the automotive industry currently is consuming 75% of the global lithium battery production, with the prospect of further demand growth, Nawa regards this market as a major target.

More information:


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Power trends: Fab plans for ultracapacitor material startup

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