NAWA’s carbon nanotubes triple battery energy density

NAWA’s carbon nanotubes triple battery energy density

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

French battery materials company Nawa has developed a carbon electrode that could double the kWh stored. 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). THis avoids having to use powders to build the electrode, which leads to low electrical, thermal and ionic conductivity, along with poor mechanical behaviour when discharged and recharged.

The vertically-aligned carbon nanotube design, which is also the basis of next-generation ultracapacitors, uses 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.

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