There is a strong drive to create batteries that store more energy (more watt-hours), charge more quickly and safely (higher power), and cost much less. Davis-based Advanced Energy Technologies, dba DAE Technologies, founded by Dr. Linghong Li is a battery company that is focusing on making better batteries. It is using an innovative hybrid battery/supercapacitor technology. Their supercapacitor technology was closest to commercialization, and for the past five years they have been manufacturing and selling a variety of products based on it. Compared to other supercap technologies such as that marketed by Maxwell, Dr. Li’s innovative supercapacitor stores much more energy and costs much less. DAE Tech is currently manufacturing their supercapacitor products in China. Their products include small component cells and modules as well as integrated products like jump-starters and booster units for EVs that provide bursts of high-power for acceleration. They also have energy storage systems for power grid stabilization that are critical for smart grids as more and more wind and solar energy and charging EVs become harmful to our current grid system.
Building upon their success in supercapacitor technology development, they have turned their attention back to developing a new generation of battery technology that they believe is superior to existing batteries including the new battery Tesla is working on. DAE Tech has received CalSEED funding for this project and is participating in the CleanTech Open. They are currently raising funds to establish marketing and manufacturing capacity in California and to expand their R&D efforts in collaboration with UC-Davis.
Their main effort focuses on batteries that can be recharged quickly and safely (high power and safety), provides sufficient energy (watt-hours) for longer running time or driving distance, and are inherently safe. They believe this goal can be achieved through an integrative power system that intelligently incorporates the advantages of supercapacitor (high power) and advanced batteries (high energy). “An analog to this concept is the relentless innovation in computer CPU/memory architectures”, explained by Bob Gregory, Chief Business Officer of DAE Tech. “We are focusing on both system level and battery level innovations to deliver the highest power (SuperCap) and highest energy (CFx battery) solution to demanding environments”.
The key chemistry of this battery is the two smallest and yet most active elements in the Periodic Table, lithium and fluorine. The primary battery of this chemistry uses carbon monofluoride material (CFx) as cathode. Of all the solid cathode materials people know of today, CFx has the highest energy capacity (> 800 mAh/g), approximately 2-3 times higher than the cathode material used in Tesla’s battery.
Primary CFx batteries are not new. Companies like Panasonic, Ultralife, Tadiran, and Eagle Pitcher are currently making them mainly for defense applications. Their products suffer from extremely high costs and lack of pulse power, which is critical for wireless devices such as smart meters and remote gas or vibration sensors. Primary CFx batteries developed by DAE Tech, currently under trial production for third-party validation and customer testing, have overcome those obstacles and will provide an ideal solution for IoT terminal devices such as billions of wireless sensor nodes (WSNs) currently in use.
Most rechargeable batteries were developed from primary battery technologies. Similarly, in principle, a primary CFx battery can be developed into a rechargeable one. DAE Tech is the first in the world developing a novel rechargeable CFx battery. More importantly, it uses carbon materials on both electrodes (no Co or Ni or Mn on the positive electrode) and thus is inherently safer and cheaper than lithium ion batteries. It is safe to say it will bring revolutionary changes in the battery world and enable the dream of Electrification of Everything come true!
Dr. Li’s recent presentation of this technology with more detail is available as a recording here. He is a Fulbright scholar with 30 patents and has an impressive team locally. Definitely would be worth taking a closer look if you are interested in batteries. See their website https://www.daetech.us/ for more information.
DAE Tech’s technology is one of many advancements in battery technology about which we have written.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Giovanni Smith is currently a junior going to Sacramento State University. Working towards his BA in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics and a minor in computer science. He wants a career using his knowledge in mathematics and coding.
"I’m excited to be working with CleanStart to learn more about the energy space and apply my mathematics to help solve real-world problems." - Giovanni Smith