Across the world researchers and engineers are striving to uncover the holy grail of battery technology. One new material, called aluminum-celmet, could increase the electrical capacity of lithium-ion batteries by as much as 300%. Do we have a winner?
The new material is currently being produced in small quantities by Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd, and it could have an incredible impact on lithium-ion battery production. Aluminum-Celmet (pictured above) features a 98% porosity and a 3D mesh-like quality that make it very light and easy to stamp into specific shapes. The metal is also a great electricity conducter, as well as being resistant to corrosion.
I’ll be honest, I don’t understand half of what is in the press release (copied in its entirety on the next page) but what I do understand is this; aluminum-celmet can be used to replace aluminum foil for the positive electrode collector on lithium-ion batteries. This seemingly small change could potentially triple the electrical capacity of a battery pack like the one found in the Nissan Leaf, and thus extend its range by as much as 300%. Alternatively, the technology could be used to downsize battery packs, reducing the size and weight of electric vehicles’ biggest anchor by between one-third and two-thirds.
Of course like many great ideas, this one will only be feasible if the price is right. But if this idea proves financially feasible, and battery range tripled in the next decade via this relatively minor change in electrode connectors, it’ll be harder and harder to make an argument against the viability of electric vehicles. I wonder, will this new material will help speed up the charging time too?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.