The long-term future of automotive battery chemistry is looking increasingly like an aluminum one, with Saudi-backed Indian researchers Saturnose becoming the latest to join the race for aluminum-ion batteries.
Saturnose is set to publicly release the independent testing of its Enhanced Altered Aluminum Ion (Ea2I) battery chemistry and plans to launch a solid-state, rechargeable aluminum battery.
It is claimed that it will be the world’s first commercial-grade aluminum-ion solid-state battery when it launches next year, when it hopes to begin the long, slow process of swapping out the riskier lithium-ion battery chemistry.
Boasting energy density of more than 1500 Watt-hours (Wh) per liter, the new chemistry is promised to delivery more than 600Wh per kilogram.
Saturnose claims a 15okW pack of its solid-state aluminum-ion batteries will weigh 565kg, deliver 1200km of EV range and last at least 20,000 charge-discharge cycles.
Saturnose also claims the new chemistry will boast at least three times the charge-discharge cycles of the best current lithium-ion batteries.
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The revelations from Saturnose follow the launch of aluminum-ion battery chemistries from Stanford University and from Australia’s Graphene Manufacturing Group.
Backed initially by Saudi Arabia’s Dana Venture Fund with two rounds of seed funding, the Saturnose Ea2I battery has been under “stealth” development since for five years, with academic research coordinated on two continents.
“The experiments and goals were to achieve a battery which can have a significance impact to replace combustion engines of fossil fuels on cost, performance and life of use,” Dana Venture Fund founder Ghayad Eid insisted.
“The experiments and research evolved into an industrial process to convert aluminum to an alloy of the best electron density we can achieve.”
Describing the Ea2I chemistry as becoming a step closer to a solid-state aluminum-ion battery, Eid insisted it used no cobalt or nickel, did not suffer from lithium-ion’s dendrite and thermal runaway fire problems.
It is claimed to deliver up to 20,000 charge-discharge cycles (compared to a maximum of 5000 for lithium-ion) and delivering up to 15 years of stable life in automotive use.
Instead, the Ea2I system uses a high-energy, altered and disordered rock-salt structure for its cathodes, and it has prototypes under test right now.
“Everybody wants something that is not lithium for the future of batteries,” Eid said.
“At present a Lithium-Ion battery per kW, if it is specified to withstand up to 2000 cycles, can work at up to 150 degrees (Celsius).
“We will bring Aluminum-Ion per kW to withstand a minimum of 5000 cycles and it can work till 350 degrees at much lower cost. Like $150 per kW compared to $45.”
The commercialization of the technology is also backed by the Indian Government, via access to research facilities, and by Sanmina’s
There are plans for an Indian battery factory to repay the country’s deep levels of academic and development resources poured in to the battery chemistry.
It plans to build its centre of competence in IIT Delhi, which is India’s premier center of battery research, and it is working with Germany’s THM Fraunhofer, with the German organization’s ideas providing some of the initial research used by Saturnose.
The processes behind the patented Ea2I chemistry use blended nanotechnology to develop its fast-charging electrodes and electrolytes. It uses aluminum and niobium along with a solid-state electrolyte.
It is claimed to be up to 50% cheaper than lithium-ion battery technologies, too, with higher specific energy, capacity, cycle and battery life.
Saturnose also plans to embed its current systems to be compatible with its next stages, which include converging the battery and electronics systems on a single console.
The potential of aluminum-ion batteries has been confirmed repeatedly but has yet to be tested commercially.
“We have demonstrated the recycling of graphite from end-of-life LIBs (lithium-ion batteries) and the re-purposing of the recovered material for positive electrodes in next-generation aluminum-ion-batteries (AIBs),” the Sustainable Materials and Technologies research paper in Elsevier last year reported.
“The recovered graphite possesses enlarged interlayer spacing which is shown to effectively boost Al-ion insertion/de-insertion during the charge/discharge processes.
“Excellent Al-ion storage performance is achieved with the capacity reaching 124 mAh g−1 at 50 mA g−1. The material retained a capacity of 55 mAh g−1 even after the applied current was increased to 500 mA g−1, showing its capability to deliver high rate performance.
“The charge/discharge cycling further revealed that the graphite retains 81% of its initial capacity even after 6700 cycles at a high rate of 300 mA g−1.
“This excellent aluminum ion storage performance makes the recovered graphite a promising positive electrode material, providing a possible solution for the recycling of huge amounts of LIB scrap. At the same time, this material aids the development of alternative sustainable battery technology, as an alternative to LIBs.”
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2021/11/30/asias-saturnose-could-be-first-to-commercialise-aluminum-ion-batteries/1412