Power category

Materials that will bring better Aluminium batteries

Giant Strides have been moving towards research and production of aluminum batteries. Different teams are working hard to ensure the production of sustainable Aluminium batteries. Recently, Standford University scientists released the first high-performance aluminum battery that can last for a long period, charges very fast and is not expensive. The battery makes use of graphite electrodes. However, life is dynamic, and a team of Switzerland scientists who work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has identified two major materials that can be used in Aluminium ion batteries. The first is Titanium Nitride also know as Tinite, corrosion-resistant material and the second is an electrically conducting polymer called polyprene.

TITANIUM NITRIDE

Tinite (TiN) is a tough ceramic material used for coating substances like Titanium alloys, Steel, Carbide, and Aluminium to improve their surface properties. It also has high corrosive resistance. Titanium Nitride is needed in the production of Aluminium batteries because the electrolyte needs to make an aluminum battery is exceptionally corrosive, it is dangerous to steel and other materials that can be found in the battery. Since Titanium Nitride can coat aluminum components, it was tested alongside other materials and was discovered to be the only material with the capability to survive prolonged contact with the electrolyte.

Another advantage of Titanium Nitride is that it can be produced anytime without glitches or complaints about lack of materials for production as the elements; Titanium and Nitrogen which are needed to produce it are easily accessible.

POLYPRENE

Another aspect the team took into consideration during their research was energy storage. They knew safety they should be their number one priority and they dealt with that by coating the super corrosive electrolyte with Titanium Nitride. However, the team knew that people not only wanted but also needed long-lasting batteries, so they decided to search for new electrodes. The result of their research was polyprene; an electrically conducting polymer formed from pyrene.

Polyprene can be used to replace graphite as the positive electrode because it has higher energy storage capabilities. Also, the space in polyprene’s molecular chains allows the large ions of the electrolyte to pass through the electrode material easily. Another feature of polyprene that places it above graphite is the ability to control the material’s porosity which can be optimized for specific applications.

Titanium Nitride and Polyprene will increase the production of low cost but high-performance batteries and also ensure the creation of better aluminum batteries.

Solid State Li-ion Batteries – High Energy-Dense Batteries Are Closer Than Before

The Interuniversity MicroElectronicss Centre (IMEC) is an independent research center which deals with nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Their headquarters are situated in Leuven, Belgium. Recently IMEC began to research and prototype Solid State Lithium-ion batteries. Solid State batteries are batteries which make use of solid electrodes and electrolytes. There have been a lot of research about Solid – State batteries, however, IMEC has moved from research to producing its first prototype.

Prototype Battery

The battery produced has an energy density of two hundred Wh/L, can be charged within two hours and can accept a charge of 0.5 C. This was achieved through the use of Solid State electrolyte. Nanocomposite electrolyte with high conductivity features was used. The electrolyte starts out as a fluid before solidifying. Unlike liquid electrolyte-based batteries, batteries based on Solid State electrolytes have “inherent safe operating characteristics.” Here’s a scenario: Throwing a normal battery against the wall might cause it to burn due to the liquid electrolyte which is flammable, however Solid State Lithium-ion batteries don’t have anything to burn because lithium is not flammable in its solid state.

ADVANTAGES OF SOLID STATE ELECTROLYTES OVER FLUID ELECTROLYTES

A Solid State electrolyte has almost no degradation reaction left. Therefore it can last through ” hundreds of thousands of cycles.” Secondly, solid-state electrolytes are compatible with metal like lithium anodes thereby affording it the opportunity to obtain very high energy densities targets. This means that higher energy densities can be derived from Solid State electrolytes. Furthermore, fluid electrolytes based Lithium-ion batteries cannot perform well in extreme cold. Solid State electrolytes are capable of working under really low temperatures.

Another advantage is that the dense ceramic electrolyte prevents Li-dendrite shorting and overcomes thermal stability issues of currently used organic liquid electrolytes. The all-solid-state structure provides revolutionary dimensional tolerance and mechanical strength, decreasing packaging requirements and system weight.

Some of the potential applications of this will be :

  • portable electronics (such as laptops or cameras).
  • electric cars.
  • home storage systems for the smart grid.
  • future smart household appliances and autonomous robots.
MORE INFORMATION

IMEC hopes to achieve the development of a battery with an energy density of 1000Wh/L and charging time of 30 minutes (2C). The quest for solid-state batteries isn’t stopping with IMEC alone – MIT is in partnership with Samsung, and they have formed a team to work on Solid State batteries and electrolytes. The University of Maryland is also currently working on their own Solid State Lithium-ion battery. With the way things are going, it will not be long before liquid Lithium chemistry is completely replaced by Solid State electrolytes.

Lipo Charge/Boost/Protect board in 18650 cell holder format

Peter6960 published a new build:

So couple months ago, GreatScott made a video where he designed a circuit. Nothing too innovative, just the same TP4056 charger the MT3608 Boost combined on one PCB. He did add a Lipo protection circuit though, initially using the same DW01. But then, the Aha moment from this video, he found a footprint compatible IC the FS312F-G – which is set at 2.9v! Way healthier for your cell’s longevity!
First of all I had to redraw all his work in Eagle (As I wont be using a cloud based service like EasyEDA for obvious reasons) and then order the PCBs. I added two boost circuits since I had the board space, as I can imagine needing dual voltages at some point (for example if that reverse LCD needed 12v and the Pi needed 5v – i could run both off one board.

Lipo Charge/Boost/Protect board in 18650 cell holder format – [Link]

1W regulated SMT DC/DC converter can be used in alternative energy

Expanding its range of embedded-core DC/DC converters, Murata Power Solutions adds the NXF1 series of regulated, high isolation converter with 3.3 or 5.0V outputs. Inputs available are nominal 3.3 and 5.0V in an industry-standard, surface-mount package with a low profile of 5.1mm. Line regulation is typically better than 0.03 per cent and load regulation is typically better than 0.5 per cent. All parts have continuous short circuit protection with auto re-start or latch-off depending on model and temperature. Input range is ± five per cent around the nominals of 3.3 and 5.0V.

Parts are 100 per cent production tested to 3.0kV DC and have agency recognition pending for ‘basic’ protection at 250V rms and ‘reinforced’ protection at 125V rms to UL60950. Medical recognition to ANSI/AAMI ES 60601-1 is also pending for two MOOPs (means of operator protection) and one MOPP (means of patient protection) at 125V rms and one MOOP based upon a working voltage of 250V rms max, between primary and secondary.

Typical applications are in systems where agency-recognised isolation is required with tight output regulation as is needed in power for remote pressure, hall-effect, mass airflow and other sensors. Markets addressed include alternative energy/solar power, transportation, telecomms/wireless equipment and medical.

The NXF1 series is rated at -40 to +105 degrees C with derating depending on model.

Packaging is the industry-standard footprint for SMT 1W converters in the Murata proprietary iLGA inspectable format with gold plated terminations. Parts are compatible with Pb-free soldering and backwards-compatible with Sn/Pb systems. They can be mounted in accordance with J-STD-020 with a classification temperature of 260 degrees C and Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) 2.

www.murata.com

Powering Batteries With Protons – A Potential Disruption in the Energy Industry

Climate Change have been a crucial factor taken into consideration by the Australian researchers from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before creating the first rechargeable proton battery. After considering all available options about cost and availability of the materials needed, the researchers in Melbourne decided to make a proton battery to meet up with the alarming increase of energy needs in the world.

Proton Battery

Lead researcher Professor John Andrews says, “Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs without further damaging our already fragile environment. As the world moves towards inherently variable renewable energy to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle climate change, requirements for electrical energy storage will be gargantuan”. The proton battery is one among many potential contributors towards meeting this enormous demand for energy storage. Powering batteries with protons has the potential to be more economical than using lithium ions, which are made from scarce resources. Carbon, which is the primary resource used in our proton battery, is abundant and cheap compared to both metal hydrogen storage alloys and the lithium needed for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Here’s how the battery works; During charging, protons generated during water splitting in a reversible fuel cell are conducted through the cell membrane and directly bond with the storage material with the aid of electrons supplied by the applied voltage, without forming hydrogen gas. In electricity supply mode, this process is reversed. Hydrogen atoms released from the storage lose an electron to become protons once again. These protons then pass back through the cell membrane where they combine with oxygen and electrons from the external circuit to reform water. In simpler terms, carbon in the electrode bonds with the protons produced whenever water is split via the power supply’s electrons. Those protons pass through the reversible fuel cell again to form water as it mixes with oxygen and then generates power.

According to Andrews, “Future work will now focus on further improving performance and energy density through the use of atomically-thin layered carbon-based materials such as graphene, with the target of a proton battery that is truly competitive with lithium-ion batteries firmly in sight.” With the kind of progress made, it might not be now, however, lithium-ion batteries might be put out of the market in the nearest future.

The team is looking to improve their research, ameliorate the battery’s performance, and exploit other better materials like graphene to further put this proton battery to its fullest potential. Developments like will be needed if we are going to create sustainable future especially with the ever rising cost and demand of Energy.

One thing is sure, the Energy Industry is going to be disrupted now or in the future, and this proton battery innovation could just be one of the potential ways.

The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management

Application note form Würth Elektronik about EM radiation radiated from inductors in DC-DC converters.

This Application Note focuses on the Electro-Magnetic (EM) radiation behavior of power inductor(s) in DC-DC converters, which is dependent on several parameters such as ripple current, switching frequency, rise & fall time of a switching device, the core material and its permeability and suggests several design tips to mitigate these EMI effects.

The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management – [Link]

1kW bidirectional DC-DC converter with credit card footprint

Diamond Electric in Japan has designed a 1kW isolated bidirectional DC-DC converter (IBDC) inverter using gallium nitride (GaN) devices that is the size of a credit card. by Nick Flaherty @ eenewseurope.com:

The technology can substantially reduce the weight and size of DC-DC converters for rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grids as well as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

The IBDC combines both charger and discharger circuits with a patented control architecture with switching up to 2MHz and a current range of -3.7 to +3.7A for the 270V to 330V input and output. This has enabled smaller magnetics for a footprint of 93.5 mm x 60 mm x 10.5 mm, excluding the control circuit and heatsink, a quarter the size of the existing designs.

As well as enabling the higher frequency, the use of GaN power devices allows a conversion efficiency of 95%.

1kW bidirectional DC-DC converter with credit card footprint – [Link]

PowerSpot Far Field Wireless Charger Will Charge Devices Up to 80 Feet Away

Over the last few years, there has been an unprecedented growth in the consumer electronics industry. The smartphones, fitness trackers, Smart homes devices, wearables, earbuds, VR/AR, and much more have fostered this growth.

The Smartphone proliferation has been a key factor in the global consumer electronics market size, smartphones have become way better, faster and even cheaper. The Internet of Things (IoT) has promised us more incoming and it’s estimated that we will have up to 21 billion connected devices by 2020. Technological advancements like the emergence of 4G and 5G technologies are expected to drive this demand. Despite all these advances in technology, one function remains chained to the wall – Power.

The laptops, tablet, phones, smart hubs, fitness trackers and others still require being powered. Even, though they are mostly battery powered and could last for a couple of days (without much activity), they all still need to be tied to a plug socket for hours to be recharged. Power has been a major source of concern and people have been dreaming about the potential of wireless charging their devices.

Powercast PowerSpot Transmitter

Wireless charging has been an interesting topic in the past few years with major advancement made in wireless charging smartphones up to a few centimeters using charging platforms. Like Energeous Wattup that charges up to 3 feet away, Powercast has introduced PowerSpot – a system that will allow devices to be wirelessly charged at up to 80 feet away.

Powercast a leading provider of RF-based wireless power technologies, has unveiled the PowerSpot. Similar to Wi-Fi, devices charges in the range of the PowerSport 3W transmitter, and will automatically turn off when full. PowerSpot charging technology needs no charging platform or direct line of sight as we have seen in Qi charging platforms and has already received approval from both the U.S.-based FCC and Canada-based ISED.

Powercast’s transmitter uses the 915 MHz ISM band to send power to a Powercast receiver chip called “The PowerHarvester” in a device, which converts the transmission to DC to “directly power or recharge” an enabled device at up to 80 feet for devices with low power need. The PowerSpot transmitter uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) modulation for power and Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) modulation for data and includes an integrated 6dBi directional antenna with a 70-degree beam pattern.

PowerSpot charging zone

Game controllers, smartwatches, fitness bands, or headphones will charge best up to two feet away; with keyboards and mice up to six feet away. TV remotes and smart cards charge well up to 10 feet away; with low-power devices like home automation sensors getting sufficient charging power up to 80 feet away.

Powercast is expecting a $100 retail on the transmitter with a projected $50 average price when it reaches mass production. It will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2018 or early 2019.

Could Sodium-ion Batteries be a Replacement for Li-ion Batteries?

Batteries made by Tiamat, a sodium battery startup spun off from the National Center for Scientific Research in France.

In early 1990s lithium-ion batteries started gaining popularity as a substitute for nickel-cadmium batteries. They have higher energy density, low self- discharge, and low maintenance, but it was soon found that they have short life span, unstability which causes security concerns and creates the need for protection circuits (to maintain it within safe limits), and are really expensive to produce. Lithium is scarce (or is soon going to be), only 0,06% of earth crust is made of this material and its mainly found in South America. A start up called Tiamat formed by scientists at several French universities proposed an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, they developed the first sodium-ion battery in industry standard 18650 cell size.

Unlike Lithium, sodium makes up 2.6% of earths crust which makes it the sixth most abundant element. As a raw material sodium sells at about $150 a ton compared to $15,000 a ton for lithium. Sodium batteries are cheaper to produce than lithium batteries, leading to a lower selling price. Also, the lifespan is about ten years compared to lithium which is 4 years and Sodium-ion batteries can last for up to 5000 charge/discharge cycles. Tiamat batteries are not a fire hazard, and provide more stability for a cheaper price.

Scientists want to use these batteries mainly for mass storage of interment renewable energies such as solar o wind. Tiamat is not looking to make Li-ion batteries disappear, instead they want to focus on their long lasting power, and use it for stationary storage. This type of battery could be used in electric cars to allow lasting trips with short recharge time. Production has not started, but when it is approved, and they start to sell France could become a leader in this type of technology. This startup has the support of RS2E (Réseau sur le stockage électrochimique de l’ énergie) a French research network dedicated to energy storage devices, and they plan to launch the product on 2020.

Nowadays, lithium batteries are used mainly for smartphones, laptops, and cars that means that if a new technology was going to replace them, a much better alternative would be needed. Even when sodium batteries are cheaper and safer they still have performance issues that could affect their sales, but as Tiamat said they are not looking to replace these and their market is completely different. For now, the cells produced offer only about half of the energy density of Li-ion and are yet to be improved in many aspects.

[Source]

WattUp – RF based Wireless Charging at a Distance

WattUp Far Field Transmitter

Recently, many big companies such as Samsung have developed wireless chargers which work by induction. These chargers usually consist of a station which needs to be in contact with the device in order to charge. The station defeats the purpose of being able to move and walk while still charging the device. Energeous, a global leader in RF- based wireless charging, created the award-winning device WattUp in order to give mobile power to everyone.

The WattUp transmitter converts electricity into radio frequencies, then beams the energy to nearby devices that have the right receiving equipment. This system has proved to be more practical than induction since it can work from up to 3 feet away. Energeous wants to make a wire free charging ecosystem by taking into advantage the fact that the transmitter can charge multiple devices at a time, and as WIFI it would be able to charge your phone even if you are Samsung and the transmitter is Apple. All kind of devices can be charged using WattUp including (but not limited to) cameras, smartphones, tablets, wearables, and toys.

The receiver uses multiples antennas to collect the micro energy beams created by the transmitter (which makes it safe because power is received in small amounts). There is also an application available in which you can control the devices that are receiving power, how much power for each one, and even what times you want it charging. For example, you can prioritize cellphone charging in peak hours of use and leave other electronics to charge at night just with the click of a button.

The WattUp has already been FCC (federal communications commission) approved, and Energeous offers a variety of prices depending on the range of the transmitter, but it is still not available in the market. The company will be in CES 2018 showing their product, this event will take place on January 9th– 12th in Las Vegas.

Wireless charging not only benefits consumers, but also offers real benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity, and safety in industrial applications. Moreover, cables require maintenance and are easily damaged which makes them unreliable and expensive to maintain. In hospitals there is a constant need for big equipment that uses battery packs or cables, but to maintain a sterile environment WattUp could be a good alternative. Furthermore, in the future this technology could be used to power electric cars avoiding the need for charging every 10 to 40 miles.

[Source]

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