University of Surrey and University of Bristol to develop battery alternatives
Two UK universities have partnered with Superdielectrics, the engineering and research firm, on a project to develop lithium-ion battery alternatives.
The new project follows the results the Universities of Surrey and Bristol found when testing novel polymer materials.
The findings on the materials with dielectric properties between 1,000 and 10,000 times larger than electrolytes have been converted into ‘device’ scale demonstrations.
The two educational establishments and the engineering firm have announced they will be researching, developing, and testing supercapacitators.
From the results Superdielectrics, the developer of the technology, aims to create a researche and production centre to enable further technological advances.
The supercapacitator battery alternative is more time-efficient as it uses electrodes and electrolytes, which charge faster.
Opposed to lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitators can charge and recharge for a significant amount of cycles whilst remaining speedier than traditional cells.
However, so far supercapacitators cannot compete with conventional batteries in regards to storage, as they can only hold approximately one-twentieth of what a lithium-ion cell can.
China has adapted the modern technology for its buses but has found they require recharging at almost every stop.
The institutions will be testing single layer cells charged with 1.5 volts to power small devices, and three-cell stacks that can be rapidly charged to power an LED.
The University of Bristol will also work on another project, creating a parallel cell structure allowing capacitance and voltage operations to separately be controlled.
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.