Graphene: the emergence of a new type of rechargeable battery
There are 38 types of lithium-ion battery at different stages of development. One measure of their efficiency is their cost of kWh of storage capacity. According to Wikipedia lithium-ion batteries range from $800 to 1000/kWhr. In comparison the ubiquitous lead acid battery used in the automotive industry costs $256/kWhr.
Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in consumer electronics. They are ubiquitous as rechargeable batteries for portable electronics and electric cars.
In previous articles on InvestorIntel we discussed the upcoming emergence of graphene, the carbon cousin of charcoal, as the ‘boy wonder material of the third millennium’.
In October 2013, scientists claimed that: “Graphene has only recently been implemented as an electron conducting additive for lithium ion battery cathode materials. In current studies graphene is found to significantly improve cathode electrochemical performance (click here).“
Contemporaneously 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.
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Thus far graphene has played the secondary role of an additive to the lithium-ions battery by providing support by adding to 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, the graphene batteries, are in a league of their own, thanks to a new cohort of 153 patent filings reported by the World Intellectual property office (WIPO) since 2012.
In November 2013, a patent by inventors of the University of Singapore reported the production of 2-5 layers graphene, which was further incorporated in graphene anodes, improving lithium-ion batteries with 2.83 times charge capacity than batteries made with standard graphene and an energy footprint that is ten times smaller than that of chemical vapour deposition graphene.
Grafoid trademarked this new type of graphene as MesoGrafTM graphene. Results disclosed in the patent shows lithium-ion batteries 2.83 more efficient than standard lithium-ion batteries using other types of exfoliated graphene. Based on this data, all things being equal, MesoGrafTM lithium-ion batteries would cost $282-353/kWhr, which elevates them to a new standard when compared to the current $800-$1,000/kWhr standard.
Graphene is now in position to become instrumental in propping the lithium-ion battery forward, making it so much better that it takes it out of the hands of early adopters and puts it in the hands of consumers who will buy hybrid cars and electric cars out of practicality and price point rather than seeking novelty or making a stance.
Standard battery nomenclature describes dry cell batteries that have physical dimensions and electrical characteristics that are interchangeable between manufacturers.Technical standards for battery sizes and types are set by standards organizations such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Most definitely the IEC or the ANSI should consider creating a new type of batteries that addresses the emerging functionalities of graphene in this industry.
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>