Nissan has licensed polymer battery technology to APB, a new subsidiary of Sanyo Chemical, for lower-cost, safer lithium-ion batteries with increased charging capacity in energy stoarge systems (ESS).
ESS is one of the key areas of development, with Kyocera using solid state battery technology and Shall and ABB investing in startups.
Tokyo-based APB plans to build a factory in Japan that will use Nissan’s technology to make bipolar structure polymer battery cells. The $80m factory is backed by several Japanese companies, including JFE Chemical, JXTG Innovation Partners and Yokogawa Electric and will start operation with a proof of concept polymer battery design in 2021.
“We believe the widespread adoption of this technology will contribute to fulfilling the U.N.’s sustainable development goals and help realize a sustainable, low-carbon society,” said Hideki Kimata, vice president of the corporate strategy and business development division at Nissan.
Nissan began researching and developing lithium-ion batteries in the early 1990s, launching it comercially in 1997. The biploar bipolar structure and polymer‐based constituent material means the All Polymer Battery has high flexibility in size and shape of the cells, which will help us to create thicker electrodes and larger cells.
In an all-polymer battery with a bipolar structure, the liquid electrolyte and metal electrodes used in conventional batteries are replaced with polymers. The front and back of the battery cell are made of a polymer current collector. The front and back each has a negative or positive polarity and forms part of the battery case. By stacking a number of these cells together, an assembled battery with a bipolar structure is created. The technology increases charging capacity relative to battery volume, while also enhancing safety by replacing liquid electrolytes with polymers. The simplified structure also lowers cost.
“We have developed a bipolar structure where the current flow across the cell interfaces perpendicular to the electrode plane, and polymer as the basic material for the first time in the world,” said Hideaki Horie, founder and CEO of APB.
Next: Polymer battery tech for ESS
APB will use the technology for ESS designs supporting renewable energy from solar panels or electricity purchased from the grid during off-peak hours. This allows local communities to limit electricity use during peak hours and use power in a more stable and efficient manner. This reduces the risk of blackouts due to disasters or technical failures, and can contribute to a safer, cleaner energy supply.
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