Hanover, 08. November 2011 – the electric motor is older than the combustion engine and it was superior to it from the very beginning. The internal combustion engine nevertheless overtook it on the right, because batteries have combined subterranean ranges with long charging times and high costs for more than 100 years, and this has not changed in principle to this day. However, since the changing society has been demanding vehicles with electric energy storage, there has been an unprecedented research boom in the battery sector. Two promising research projects are expected to achieve ten times the energy density of today’s lithium-ion variants in the medium term.
Twice as good
"With all foreseeable developments, lithium-ion batteries may become twice as good as they are today", says chandrasekhar narayan, IBM manager of research and technology. But that’s not nearly enough: "to really cause a change in the transportation system and the power grid, we need higher energy density." narayan has been leading a project at the IBM almaden research center in san jose, california, since 2009. The goal is to develop lithium-air batteries to production maturity and then license the technology to the eventual manufacturers, as this would allow a leap to seven to ten times the energy density.
Lithium air locksmith
IBM are not the only ones who see a future for batteries in the air. From a global perspective, the californian battery company polyplus is also working on this technology just around the corner, and the battery research center at the westphalian wilhelm university in munster has followed suit this summer, with the federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) providing two million euros in funding. Dr. Leo van wullen from the university of munster takes the same line as his colleague at IBM: "significantly increasing the energy content of rechargeable batteries is a prerequisite for greater ranges and thus also for bringing electromobility to market maturity in the long term."