The Paradigm Change: High Power High Energy Tradeoff
Aditya Chichure, Unsplash
With the world on the verge of electrification, EVs are being pushed as part of the green revolution as they create less pollution. However, there are some limits to this transformation relating to the battery technology available today.
Electrification adoption depends on the moment the usability of batteries becomes the same or easier and at the same price or cheaper than using fuel and combustion engines. For this to happen, we need to have better batteries that can both drive long ranges and charge fast. Indeed, these two factors are completely dependent on the battery technology for EVs. In order to achieve this, a battery that is both capable of high power and high energy is needed, and today, the industry is struggling to supply this due to insufficient performance of existing batteries.
Batteries and Electrodes Today
Today, when battery manufacturers build high energy batteries suitable for a long range or a long operational time, they use batteries with thick electrodes. These electrodes can store more energy as they can load more active material. However, thick electrodes suffer a shorter lifetime and high degradation as they are less mechanically stable and due to the inhomogeneous temperature distribution.
On the other hand, when a battery manufacturer wants to create a high power battery that has high charge and discharge rates, they use thin electrodes to increase the total active area per unit of volume or weight. They also have a lower diffusion limitation. However, thin electrodes are more expensive and store less energy.
With the growing adoption of EVs and the global trend to move to electric powered solutions, the automotive industry is leading the electrification process. As such, to complete the process, the range limitation and charging time need to be overcome. Therefore, there is a huge need for batteries that are both high power and high energy.
Indeed, demand is constantly growing and varying EV nature mirrors the different energy requirements. Some batteries are optimized for high energy density whilst others are optimized for high power. This entails a few tradeoffs in high density battery technologies as having both high power and high battery is still a work in progress. In the EV world, this means the industry is struggling to provide both long range and fast charging energy solutions.
Therefore, car manufacturers today have to decide whether they create a car with high power (thin electrodes), that charges fast, or high energy (thick electrodes), which has a long range. Without addressing this tradeoff, the battery industry cannot fully enable the electrification process. Indeed, car manufacturers currently use high energy batteries and due to the high amount per EV, they also supply high power. Under the restrictions of today’s technology, this is a good solution; however, it is not optimal and better batteries are needed.
Power to Energy Problem - In Other Markets
Jason Blackeye, Unsplash
Tradeoffs on the road to higher density battery technologies are present in other markets too. For example, drones require high power to lift off quickly and to perform rapid aerial manoeuvres. They also need a long flight time which requires high energy.
Power tools also work with high discharge rates and are mostly used by professionals that are used to switching between 2-3 screwdrivers during their work time. In an optimal scenario, they would use one same power tool for a long time under intense working conditions. Additionally, they would be able to charge it quickly when the battery drains without losing any work time. Today, professionals use a different tool when the other one is charging; a working solution that’s definitely not practical.
In fact, most applications optimally require both power and energy. Today however, there is no proper solution so products are produced under the constraints of technology.
Imagine a smartphone that can work for a week without charging, or a laptop that can be fully charged in 15 minutes. This would make our lives much simpler and the only barrier for that is battery technology.
Addionics’ unique value proposition
As the power to energy tradeoff holds back electrification adoption, many companies and startups are trying to find a solution and create batteries that are both high power and high energy. Addionics’ solution can really overcome this, using new battery design.
Addionics Smart 3D Electrodes have a higher surface area that allows more of the active materials to be accommodated. Furthermore, the active material is integrated in the electrodes and not layered like with regular 2D batteries, which leads to higher energy batteries. This solution also has significantly lower internal resistance due to the nature of the highly porous metal framework that increases the contact area between the metal and the active material and reduces diffusion limitation.
This allows Addionics to create both high power and high energy batteries whilst supplying the industry at a low cost thanks to its patent-protected, cost-effective, scalable manufacturing process to produce smart 3D electrodes. Addionics designs and builds the best battery architecture to meet the desired performance, which cannot be achieved with a traditional design. Moreover, Addionics’ aim is to meet the volume demand for any industry and reach mass production levels.
Explore Addionics' technology in our white paper on How New Battery Design is Transforming the Battery Industry or contact us for collaboration opportunities.