• Jul 14, 2011
Aluminum celmet

Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) is the Japanese company behind an innovation that could potentially lead to a serious rise in the capabilities of electric vehicles.

If you haven't heard of SEI, that's okay. Please allow us to fill you in. SEI is a manufacturer of electric wire and optical fiber cable that recently developed a porous aluminum called "Aluminum-Celmet." The company says the lightweight metal can be integrated into lithium-ion batteries and claims that Aluminum-Celmet's three-dimensional structure forms interconnected, spherical pores that somehow nearly triple battery capacity.

In addition, Aluminum-Celmet's electrical resistance is supposedly lower that of Celmet, a proprietary metal derived from nickel and currently used in SEI's NiMH batteries. By replacing the conventional aluminum-copper foils within a li-ion battery with its patented Aluminum-Celmet, the company says battery capacity can jump by up to 300 percent.

SEI is looking to set up an Aluminum-Celmet assembly line at its Osaka Works facility in Japan and hopes to move to mass production of the patented metal soon. We'd like to see that, too, if these claims turn out to be true.

[Source: Sumitomo Electric Industries]
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Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., having newly developed its porous aluminum "Aluminum-Celmet," has set up a small-scale production line at Osaka Works (1-1-3 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka) to accelerate development efforts toward mass production of the new material.

Aluminum-Celmet (x40)Celmet is a porous metal made from nickel or nickel chrome alloy. The porous metal manufacturing process comprises electro conductive coating to plastic foam, followed by nickel plating and plastic foam removal by heat treatment.

Celmet's features include high porosity (up to 98%), considerably higher than other porous metals, such as nonwoven metal fabric and foam metal; it also features a three-dimensional mesh-like structure that forms interconnected, open and spherical pores. Moreover, it is easy to process the porous metal into various shapes by cutting and stamping.

These features lead to favorable filling, retaining and current-collecting performance, when used with an active material. As such, Celmet has recently been adopted as a positive electrode current collector in hybrid vehicle nickel-hydrogen batteries.

We have recently succeeded in developing porous aluminum Aluminum-Celmet, using processes similar to those used for producing nickel Celmet.

In addition to sharing the high porosity feature of Celmet, Aluminum-Celmet offers lightness (the specific gravity of aluminum is about one-third that of nickel) and greater electrical conductivity (or low electrical resistivity, less than half that of nickel). Furthermore, Aluminum-Celmet offers excellent corrosion resistance. These features make it suitable for use in lithium-ion and other secondary batteries operating at high charge/discharge voltages, for which Celmet made from nickel is not suitable. Aluminum-Celmet can also be used for current collectors in capacitors.

In-House Assessment of Aluminum-Celmet Applications

Aluminum-Celmet can be used to improve the capacity of lithium-ion secondary batteries and capacitors.

The positive electrode current collector in a conventional lithium-ion secondary battery is made from aluminum foil, while the negative electrode current collector is made from copper foil. Replacing the aluminum foil with Aluminum-Celmet increases the amount of positive active material per unit area. Sumitomo Electric's trial calculations indicate that in the case of automotive onboard battery packs, such replacement will increase battery capacity 1.5 to 3 times. Alternatively, with no change in capacity, battery volume can be reduced to one-third to two-thirds. These changes afford such benefits as reduced footprint of home-use storage batteries for power generated by solar and other natural sources, as well as by fuel cells.

In conventional capacitors, both positive and negative current collectors are made from aluminum foil. Use of Aluminum-Celmet instead improves the capacity and reduces the footprint, as with lithium-ion batteries.

We will direct our efforts toward improving Aluminum-Celmet for commercialization and mass production for lithium-ion battery and capacitor current collector applications.

* Celmet is a trademark or registered trademark of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

* Aluminum-Celmet is a trademark of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is great, but we need to keep our expectations based in reality. I find it hard to believe just changing the collector can increase the energy density of the entire cell by 300%. It's like when we see these announcements that a new cathode can handle XXXWh/kg. But when you realize the cathode is a small percentage of the mass of the entire battery, then the overall battery would only increase by some much smaller %. Still good news, but we just don't need to be hyped too much now and then disappointed when reality hits. Lots of small steps still add up to big steps. And maybe I'm wrong and this really will triple the capacity of the entire battery???
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      300 percent improvement in battery tech would allow the tesla roadster to travel 750 miles on the same sized battery pack. Or you could reduce pack size & weight by half and still improve the range. If battery modules were standardized it might be possible to put 50-100 miles of capacity in a battery module at a size and weight that a human could carry/move/swap. That would make configurable battery packs possible so you could have 100miles of range for daily commuting and 200-300 with quick swap capacity for longer drives.
      BigJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dumb question, but I assume this doesn't improve efficiency, just storage capacity (i.e. 3x as much electrons would have to be put in the battery)? I hope this is a big break through - definitely promising!
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      somehow pigs could fly. it sounds quite dishonest.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        It was a slow day for the Captain at the precinct, until the call came, " What is it Sergent? I see well that sounds really serious, better send some officers from the Serious Fraud Suad to pick up those guys at Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI). Have Citizen Frederiksen, swear out the usual complaint."
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL Ok Dave, show me this existing infrastructure I'm missing. Also, show me the existing method of storing hydrogen....it must be some breakthrough in nanocomposits that everyone is using these days. I'm sure I can buy one at the store along with the batteries for my car. No wait, I can't LOL But don't worry, at $3million a pop, I'm sure there will be hydrogen stations on every corner any day now. Oh, I forgot, they can supply them with the fleet of hydrogen fueling trucks shipping it in from all the cheap hydrogen production centers in every city and town. And of course, last but not least, I can go out and buy a DIY hydrogen fuel cell anywhere on the internet. I'm sure the same companies who ship batteries and electric motors have them coming out of their ears for only $250,000 or so. But I don't know what I'm talking about, so you just keep on rolling along their sparky.
      Yespage
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought Unicorn fart energy technologies were several decades away from fruition.
      JP
      • 3 Years Ago
      From the article: "By replacing the conventional aluminum-copper foils within a li-ion battery with its patented Aluminum-Celmet, the company says battery capacity can jump by up to 300 percent." From the press release: "The positive electrode current collector in a conventional lithium-ion secondary battery is made from aluminum foil, while the negative electrode current collector is made from copper foil. Replacing the aluminum foil with Aluminum-Celmet increases the amount of positive active material per unit area." They won't be replacing the copper foil with Aluminum Celmet.
      uncle_sam
      • 3 Years Ago
      This sounds similar to the edimensional silicon fibers for LiIon batteries and the Graphene structures. They shouls also boost the capacity tremendously. I would not say it is a fake. We just need to see how this develops. But this is a NEED for every EV enthusiast. It won't be long and the ICE is dead. An EV with 500mls range would be awsome. I would be speeding all the time :D
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep the progress coming please. Why can I get samples?
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      H2 has a price and infrastructure problem. And you also have to accept that you lose your trunk space for the H2 tank. Batteries have a range problem and a much smaller cost problem (compared to H2). But you hail any article about H2 as a great breakthrough and either criticize or at best give a backhanded compliment to batteries. That's cool, it's just what you believe and 5-10 years from now you may be right and us battery lovers may be wrong. But you really have to admit that you have a very negative slant towards batteries in comparison. This was an article about progress on the battery front and simply look at your post: "Its a start. Still not enough." Simply compare that to what you say every time there is an H2 article. I guess that is "fair and balanced" in your view LOL
      • 2 Years Ago
      Romeo Whatever are the comments/opinions of these guys I am still interested in this aluminum celmet. Soon I will get in touch with SEI once I started the proto-type of my own Li-ion battery.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its a start. Still not enough.
        JP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Batteries have the range already, just not the cost, but they still beat HFCV's on cost by far. HFCV's have no real world advantage at all over EV's. You can't say they have the range because there is no way to refuel them other than a few select locations. Everyone can refill their EV's.
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        If they posted an article saying you could use unicorn farts for H2 generation at $25,000 per car in 2020, you'd be doing cartwheels and declaring it the second coming of Christ. But you're going to talk down any progress in batteries?
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