EDITOR: | November 26th, 2014 | 7 Comments

The Graphene Battery: No longer a domesticated pet sitting at the foot of its Li-Ion Battery master?

| November 26, 2014 | 7 Comments
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Grafoid acquires battery manufacturer Braille Batteries — takes one step closer to the graphene battery

Chui-GordonWith the recent progress in the inclusion graphene in batteries as material for anodes, cathodes or supercapacitors, it seems reasonable to think we should accept the new naming convention “graphene battery” to reflect the immense contribution of graphene in increasing charging power and reversible capacity.

Thus far graphene has played the secondary role of an additive to the lithium-ion battery by providing support by complementing the chemistry of anodes and cathodes. However, recent discoveries suggest that graphene is no longer a domesticated pet sitting at the foot of its master. Certain types of lithium-ion batteries, are in a league of their own, thanks to a new cohort of 405 from 153 patent filings reported by the World Intellectual property office (WIPO) since a year ago.

It is reasonable to ask the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI), two bodies in charge of battery nomenclature. Technical standard battery nomenclature describes dry cell batteries that have physical dimensions and electrical characteristics that are interchangeable between manufacturers. But the onus for the christening of the graphene battery rest with industry stakeholders.

Graphene batteries have to hit the market in a grand way for the new naming convention to gain traction. Integrating graphene into end products is one of the key success criteria for the emergence of graphene in the broad scale adoption of graphene into the marketplace, a hurdle that is common among leading edge technologies. Manufacturers tend to prefer to be second in line in the adoption of new technologies, regardless of their level of proof.

As far as Grafoid is concerned, we might as well be speaking of the graphene battery rather than the lithium-ion battery. And its recent acquisition of Braille Battery, Inc. might create the conditions for the new naming convention.

Braille Battery is a perfect play for a graphene manufacturer looking for market inroads. Braille is a global leader in the development, production and sales of ultralightweight lithium ion high performance batteries and seller of the world’s first environmentally sustainable AGM carbon fiber batteries for IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1 racing cars, motorcycles and batteries for the marine industry.

Grafoid-BrailleThere are two main technical features defining rechargeable batteries: the quantity of energy they store (charging capacity) and the number of times a battery can be drained of power and then recharged (reversible capacity).

Scientists claim that: “Graphene has only recently been implemented as an electron conducting additive for lithium ion battery cathode materials. Graphene is found to significantly improve cathode electrochemical performance.”

The properties of graphene, especially its surface area per weight unit makes it an especially appealing molecule for anodes and cathodes—the rods in batteries through which current circulates.

There is also the reputation of lithium ion batteries to consider. In 2013 the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA (2013) Application of life-cycle assessment to nanoscale technology: Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. EPA 7440R-12-001] published a damning report on the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries, producing data that shows that the technology might be promising but still carried a hefty environmental footprint. Here again graphene may tip the balance because of its better environmental footprint, something of significance for Grafoid because of the clean environmental footprint of MesoGrafTM.


Dr. Luc Duchesne

Editor:

Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>


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  • Allan Wing

    This is a story and opinion about the wonder material called graphene. The stories written have been from the amazing abilities to the claims of using a kitchen blender to make it.

    What to make of it all?

    The above written by Dr. Luc Duchesne is well written and believable.

    I’ve been following the story of Grafoid as a shareholder, a very pleased shareholder. It’s been amazing progress in a couple of years for the company. Grafoid will soon be releasing information on additional advances they have made to solidify their position as a top tier player in the graphene space.

    November 27, 2014 - 6:32 AM

  • Norm Allen

    Once again we see a very superficial press report on battery technology. No there are not just two metrics (energy and cycles) associated with a successful battery technology, there are about 12 of them. Missing target performance on any one of the 12 will lead to a noncompetitive or noncommercial system. That’s why it takes 10 years from lab to commercial viability even before scale-up of a successful new system. In the case of high surface area graphene, safety will be just one of several significant challenges.

    November 27, 2014 - 7:31 AM

  • Allan Wing

    Call it a superficial press report if you want to, I don’t think it is. Could be you will change your mind soon about how long it takes. The ability to easily extract graphene directly from raw ore was and still is an impossibility according to most. Grafoid does it.

    November 27, 2014 - 7:39 AM

  • Tracy Weslosky

    Thank you for your astute commentary Allan Wing. Dr. Luc Duchesne has a 28-page CV, a PhD in Biochemistry — and with 85 published scientific papers under his belt; he is incapable of writing anything superficial. In reviewing Norm Allen’s bio online, I am concerned that someone is impersonating him….so I will reach out to him today and confirm that he is the source of this illogical and arguably ‘caddy’ statement for a ‘gentleman’ to place their name on….

    Mr. Allen allegedly works for a fund that “makes venture capital and growth equity investments in the areas of alternative energy, energy efficiency, infrastructure development and resource management.” If this is indeed the source, then perhaps this has more to do with something other than the excellent and insightful commentary we were lucky to publish from the intensely knowledgeable Dr. Duchesne.

    November 27, 2014 - 9:33 AM

  • Allan Wing

    Grafoid has been recognized as a top tier graphene company. They are in it for the long term. Grafoid is much more than a supplier of graphene. Research is being carried out by them alone and many joint venture agreements. They include several leading universities and multi national companies. It’s hard not to like them.

    November 28, 2014 - 8:01 AM

  • Tom Ammons

    So true. And researchers in battery technology are like the blind man and the elephant. Claim after claim about improving this or that aspect of battery performance but no one comes up with a viable commercial product for all that research. The second gen Volt will have a whopping improvement of 20% range-all they have to show for 5 years of development.

    December 5, 2014 - 8:21 AM

  • Allan Wing

    Commercial products using graphene as an improvement are soon to be coming to the market. Batteries are likely to take a bit longer. I do believe Grafoid’s battery company Braille Battery may have an advantage going forward.

    December 6, 2014 - 8:01 AM