• Oct 27th 2006 at 10:17AM
  • 16
A few months ago, we first heard word of Altair Nanotechnologies because of an innovative new battery cell design they're now calling NanoSafe. They say that the graphite used in standard lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a nano-structured negative electrode material called nano lithium titanium oxide. The result could very well be ground-breaking.

Recently, the company conducted an in-house test on their NanoSafe batteries and found that after 15,000 (not a typo) deep charge and discharge cycles, the product retained over 85 percent of its charge capacity. In theory that would push the life of these batteries beyond 40 years if you recharged everyday, though, the company admits that under real-world wear and tear a battery life of 20 years is more realistic.

Altair also says that even though their test involved full charges and discharges (100 percent to zero and back again), they say that partial charging and discharging does not appear to affect the battery's abilities to hold their charge.

Related:
[Source: Altair Nanotechnologies]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I doubt there's any projection here. I think a key part of the breakthrough is reduced internal impedance, which means that the battery runs cooler during charge/discharge. The battery can probably be discharged at a high current level without swelling. Swelling is perhaps the single most potent killer of the battery's capacity.
      • 8 Years Ago
      there is hope after all i am a courier in my work i usually get 4to5 years 300k to 400k from a car.sometimes having too change an engine gearbox at least once my average daily kms are beetween 200 &300 a day stopping once a day too recharge some batteries even if it ment a half an hour..time for lunch.not too mention the low mantainance costs that electric motors are known for.I show me the power.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Recently, the company conducted an in-house test on their NanoSafe batteries and found that after 15,000 (not a typo) deep charge and discharge cycles, the product retained over 85 percent of its charge capacity."

      Ok, I'm sort-of impressed. Is this an actual life-test, or a projection of limited data? I'm guessing it's the latter: If a complete charge/discharge cycle took only 30 minutes, 15K cycles would take more than 6 months to run (assuming continuous testing 24/7). Generally, a complete charge/discharge cycle of a lithium battery would take more than an hour to limit current to a safe level, but maybe there is a way to accelerate that.

      Any rate, that probably means the 15K cycles is a projection, or *guess*, based on measurements made after only a few hundred cycles. It also means that there may be some surprise failure modes out past the actual test data. Sony is currently learning the price of surprise failure modes, and it's pretty steep.

      If 15K cycles is for real, it is a definite breakthrough, and I'm prepared to be really impressed. Even if the battery cost twice or three times as much, if it outlasts the rest of the car, its TCO would be less (buy the car, lease the battery separately?).

      And I could use one of those for my laptop while they are at it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The most impressive characteristics of the NanoSafe
      batteries is not the more or less infinte charge/recharge cycle capacity, but the recharge rates and dischareg rates. The batteries can be fully recharged in 8 to 12 MINUTES (not a typo) and flow 4 times the juice that typical lithium ion batteries do. They do this at very low temps as well. This is a revolutionary battery that for the first time in history , makes an electric car a viable substitue for an gasoline powered vehicle.
      The batteries make their debut in the Spring of 07 in a pickup truck being marketed to commercial
      fleets, such as utilitiy companies by Phoenix Motorcars in Ontario California. The standard range provided in 140 miles, but buyers can add more
      batteries and range up to 200 miles. If I were to buy an electric car, which I would like to do, I would insist that its batteires be at least as good or better than Altair's NnoSafe batteries. The Tesla electric sports car has an idiotic battery pack of li ion laptop batteries (8631 of them) that cost $20,000 and won't last more than five years, and require a Rube Goldberg monitoring system to
      keep the temp just right, as well as discharge rates, etc., all things that are not needed for NanoSafe batteries. That car will be obsolete the day it's delivered if it doesn't switch to NanoSafe batteries.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kent,

      I've seen you make more than a few disparaging remarks about Tesla Motors. What's the deal? Did you get passed up for a job with them or what?

      If we are browsing the internet learning about Altair batteries, then a bunch of electrical engineers who started an electric car company probably knew about them a really really long time ago and decided on an alternative technology for a good reason.

      Also, where do you put 50kWh of juice into an electric car battery in 12 minutes? That's 250kW average! Over 1000A on a 220V outlet!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fast charge is achieved by using 380 V charging units. Such voltage is already available in our countries (France at least) in many car garages and industrial areas.

        So it won't be a big trouble to grow quickly a sound network of suitable 'fast reload stations' spread every 250-275 Km maximum distance in any country. That's the average distance needed for the most advanced project of the moment, the Lightning GT EV (google that) a british car designed by a former tech at RR & Bentley, Peter Ward.

        It looks wonderful, like an Aston Martin / Zagato and despite the Tesla (quite remarkable indeed) is also made after a Brit car (Lotus Elise), its beats her in every point.
        Performances outbeat those of most petrol sportscars.

        Expected range is 322 Km, battery life expectancy in the 'real world' in excess of 12-15 years,... The sole problem is the announced purchase price, not really balanced by the overall low overheads... at this moment at least.

        Batteries are standard sized (9" high) and installed in a 30-unit array low in the chassis. They do not need to be cooled down in charge, nor heated in cold weather. They resist to temps up to 250° C however.

        In my opinion, all roadside bars - fast foods etc. should think about turning to service EVs this way, adding to the fast 380V reload a "10' refreshing pause" menu to their current offer.. Current mobile techs (gsm, gps, 3G internet...) can already provide all the needed guidance to arrange a travel with the necessary alerts when approaching a suitable station - and even remember your preferred choices of brands etc..
      • 5 Years Ago
      We offer all laptop battery http://www.all-laptop-battery.co.uk/ which would shipping to you fast and the quality is satisfy satisfied.:)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I especially like the safety aspects they documented.
      http://www.power-battery.com.au/LAPTOP_BATTERY/replacement-battery-for-dell.htm It would appear to me that this technology should completely displace LiOn/graphite in a matter of months,
      http://www.power-battery.com.au/LAPTOP_BATTERY/SONY.htm
      provided the cost is anywhere near present-day LiOn cells.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When is Chevron going to purchase the patent for this technology.? They have billions of dollars to purchase and surpress technology that will stop our dependence on fossil fuels. They took away the RAV4 EV from the market place. Come on Chevron, what are you waiting for? Go ahead I dare you to surpress this technology!
      • 4 Years Ago
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      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks for the link, kballs. Very interesting read. It appears that the actual test data includes 9K cycles; not quite as impressive as 15K, but still impressive. The cycle time is truly impressive, too. The characteristics of this technology resemble those of the supercap, only without the problem of discharge voltage/current decay.

      I especially like the safety aspects they documented. It would appear to me that this technology should completely displace LiOn/graphite in a matter of months, provided the cost is anywhere near present-day LiOn cells.

      So, when do I get one of these for my laptop, cell phone, and PDA? I could easily live with only 90% of the energy capacity in return for never having to replace a battery again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So... I'm stunned and can't wait to get my hands on this battery technology - - However... How long do you think it will take the auto and oil industry to buy up the controlling stock of this company and put a stop to these batteries like the NiMh batteries that came before???
      Sorry for a negative but I'm one of those who after buying three new GM cars in a row have now vowed to boycott all of GM's products because of what they did to the NiMh battery... It wasn't about Who killed the electric "car" but more Who killed the Only viable electric car "battery"
      • 8 Years Ago
      The "NanoSafe" batteries are safe up to 250 degrees Celsius because they use titanium oxide instead of graphite (which standard Li-Ion batteries use). Standard Li-Ion batteries explode at 140 degrees Celsius.

      http://www.altairnano.com/documents/NanoSafeBackgrounder060920.pdf

      If there were surprise failure modes, it would probably be something more related to functionality than safety (like a sudden dropoff in ability to hold charge).

      The disadvantage of these lithium titanate oxide batteries is supposedly they only have 80-90% of the charge capacity per volume of regular lithium graphite batteries (but that's still way higher than lead acid batteries which are typically used in the larger battery applications that these are being marketed for like UPSes, solar/wind power buffers, and EVs).
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