Tag Archives: Battery

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.

Low cost single cell L-Ion battery pack simulator

Mare @ e.pavlin.si designed a single cell Li-Ion battery pack simulator to facilitate the testing process of a new device.

Modern battery operated portable devices use smart battery packs. Every new development of an electronic medical device must follow strict design flow defined by world-wide or local regulatory
directives. The development process of any such device using smart battery pack requires specific operating conditions to meet the testing criteria. When smart battery pack is one of the main power sources the host system should be tested with several battery states. The testing is necessary during development, validation and later in production testing.

Low cost single cell Li-Ion battery pack simulator – [Link]

Newly Developed Internal Temperature Sensor For Li-ion Battery Enables 5x Faster Charging

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have developed sensors which measure the internal temperature and electrode potential of Lithium batteries. The technology is being developed by the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) as a part of a battery’s normal operation. More intense testings have been done on standard commercially available automotive battery cells.

Researchersdeveloped a sensor to measure the internal termperature and electrode potential of lithum batterry
Researchers developed a sensor to measure the internal temperature and electrode potential of lithium battery

If a battery overheats it becomes a risk for critical damage to the electrolyte, breaking down to form gases that are both flammable and can cause significant pressure build-up inside the battery. On the other hand, overcharging of the anode can lead to Lithium electroplating, forming a metallic crystalline structure that can cause internal short circuits and fires. So, overcharging and overheating of a Li-ion battery is hugely damaging to the battery along with the user.

The researchers at Warwick developed miniature reference electrodes and Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG) threaded through a strain protection layer. An outer coat of Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) was applied over the fiber, ensuring chemical protection from the corrosive electrolyte. The end result is a sensor which has direct contact with all the key components of the battery. The sensor can withstand electrical, chemical and mechanical stress faced during the normal operation of the battery while still giving accurate temperature and potential readings of the electrodes.

The device includes an in-situ reference electrode coupled with an optical fiber temperature sensor. The researchers are confident that similar techniques can also be developed for use in pouch cells. WMG Associate Professor Dr. Rohit Bhagat said,

This method gave us a novel instrumentation design for use on commercial 18650 cells that minimizes the adverse and previously unavoidable alterations to the cell geometry,

The data from these internal sensors are much more precise than external sensing. This has been shown that with the help of these new sensors, Lithium batteries that are available today could be charged at least five times faster than the current rates of charging.

This could bring huge benefits to areas such as motor racing, gaining crucial benefits from being able to push the performance limits. This new technology also creates massive opportunities for consumers and energy storage providers.

R-78S switching regulator boosts a AA battery to 3.3V

Recom’s first evaluation board allows engineers to effortlessly test the functionality of the R-78S switching regulator, which boosts a AA battery or external supply voltage to 3.3V for low power IoT applications. By Julien Happich @ eenewseurope.com:

The R-78S Evaluation Board demonstrates the performance of the R-78S which boosts single-cell AA battery voltage of 1.5V up to a stable 3.3V. This guarantees much higher energy capacities and reduces maintenance costs compared to button or coin cell batteries. This will effectively extend the operation lifetime of an application since the boost converter continues to operate at input voltages as low as 0.65V.

R-78S switching regulator boosts a AA battery to 3.3V – [Link]

JuiceBox Zero: Easiest way to power a Pi Zero with a battery

You have a Raspberry Pi project, but it’s no good stuck to a wall! JuiceBox Zero is the simplest way to properly power your Pi Zero. by Samuel Anderson @ kickstarter.com:

I had an amazing project for Raspberry Pi that needed to be battery powered. I searched and found a few boards that served the purpose.  Unfortunately, they were a bit cumbersome, and sadly, they weren’t “plug-n-play” with Raspberry Pi!

When the Pi Zero was released, I instantly saw the potential its tiny form factor provided for truly mobile inventions. But to be truly mobile, it can’t be tethered to a power source. Just imagine how useless a smartphone would be if it had to be plugged into the wall!

The project is live on kickstarter and available for funding.

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.


Improving Wearables with Flexible and Rechargable Battery

The stretchable batteries were printed on fabric for this demonstration. They make up the word NANO on the shirt and are powering a green LED that is lit in this picture. (Image courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.)

Nowadays, there is a lot of technology that implements wearables in fashion, medicine, worker safety, accessories and much more. Many wearables are coupled with uncomfortable charging cables that are irritating for users to handle, some even have big batteries that make wearables a burden instead of an advantage. Statistics show that people tend to abandon this devices after only 6 months of buying them, and battery life and portability is one of the issues. Addressing portability, the nanoengineers at the university of California San Diego have developed a new material that allows the creation of flexible, stretchable, and rechargeable batteries which can be printed into clothes.

This material named SIS can be expanded twice its size in any direction without any damage. SIS is made from a hyper elastic polymer material made from isoprene and polystyrene. The ink used to print the batteries is made with Zinc silver oxide with bismuth (to make it rechargeable). The whole flexible battery is made from both SIS and the ink.  When zinc battery runs out, their electrodes react with the liquid electrolyte inside the battery which eventually shorts circuits the battery, bismuth prevents this from happening and ensures battery durability.

The prototype has 1/5 the capacity of a hearing aid rechargeable battery and it´s 1/10 as thick. It costs only $0.5 USD to produce and uses commercially available materials which makes it cheaper and smaller, but not as efficient as a common wearable battery. Two of these batteries are needed to power a 3 v LED, so a lot of them would be needed to power a bigger device.

The engineers are working towards improving performance to make them a good choice for wearable developers. They also want to extend their work towards lithium ion batteries, supercapacitor, and photovoltaic cells. Commercially, the short-term objective is to replace coin batteries for printable batteries which have a competitive price.

When performance is improved these batteries could power all kind of wearables for medical purposes such as shirts that can detects fever, or glucose sensor in diabetic patients. Also, for recreational purposes such as a sweatshirt with LEDs to run during night, or a shirts that detects movement and helps you with your movements while playing golf. Engineers for this project should consider implementing wireless charging to make it even more comfortable for the user by ending the need of cables and small connectors which are a nightmare for most of the people.


Solid-state battery – a hybrid of battery and capacitor

With CeraCharge, TDK has developed the world’s first solid-state battery in SMD technology. In contrast to most common battery technologies, CeraCharge works without any liquid electrolytes. by Christoph Hammerschmidt @ eenewseurope.com:

Similar to ceramic capacitors, the CeraCharge is based on multilayer technology and combines a high energy density in the smallest possible space with process reliability in the manufacture of multilayer components. The use of a ceramic solid as electrolyte also excludes the risk of fire, explosion or leakage of electrolyte fluid.

In the compact size EIA 1812, the battery, which can be rechargeable several dozen to 1000 times, offers a capacity of 100 µAh at a nominal voltage of 1.4 V depending on the requirements. In the short term, currents in the range of a few mA can also be drawn.

Wireless power in AA battery format

Ossia has created the world’s first wirelessly-powered alternative to disposable AA batteries. The “Forever Battery” puts a long distance wireless power receiver into an AA battery format. The technology can receive up to 4W from a nearby RF transmitter (Cota transmitter), and includes a data link. [via]

Forever Battery bridges the gap between the battery-wire age and the wireless power era,” said Mario Obeidat, CEO of Ossia. “When people see how Cota Real Wireless Power can be implemented in a AA battery, they will start to see the vision of Cota everywhere. The Forever Battery will create awareness of Cota and provide confidence that devices will be powered when it matters.

2 X AA Battery To 6V Boost Converter For Arduino Nano

This project is simple solution to power Arduino Nano from two 1.5V batteries. Circuit converts 2 X AA alkaline battery power into 6V 100mA using boost topology. Circuit uses SOT223-6 pin TLV61046A boost converter IC. The TLV61046A is a highly integrated boost converter designed for applications such as PMOLED panel, LCD bias supply and sensor module. The TLV61046A integrates a 30-V power switch, an input to output isolation switch, and a rectifier diode. It can output up to 28 V from input of a Li+ battery or two alkaline batteries in series. The TLV61046A operates with a switching frequency at 1.0 MHz. This allows the use of small external components. The TLV61046A has typical 980-mA switch current limit. It has 7-ms built-in soft start time to reduce the inrush current. The TLV61046A also implements output short circuit protection, output over-voltage protection and thermal shutdown. R1 and R2 connected to FB pin to set the output voltage 6V. R1 and R2 can be altered to set higher output voltage, refer data sheet for calculation. The board can be used as Arduino Nano shield or as stand-alone boost converter. It directly fits on top of the Arduino Nano and output is connected to VIN and GND pins of Nano.

2 X AA Battery To 6V Boost Converter For Arduino Nano – [Link]