Silicon eyed as way to boost electric car battery potential
By Alan Charlish (Reuters) - The race to build a better electric car battery is turning to silicon, with several companies working to engineer types of the material that can boost driving range and cut production costs. About 500,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold globally in 2016, a figure that is expected to jump sevenfold by 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration
By Alan Charlish
(Reuters) - The race to build a better electric car battery is turning to silicon, with several companies working to engineer types of the material that can boost driving range and cut production costs.
About 500,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold globally in 2016, a figure that is expected to jump sevenfold by 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
That increase is forecast to be helped by government mandates to cut tailpipe emissions by banning gasoline and diesel-powered cars. But many drivers have so far been put off by the high cost of EVs and worries about driving range, which so far is limited to a few hundred miles (kilometres) before needing a charge.
But silicon could, if adopted en masse for EV batteries, help boost energy storage.
One such company, California-based Sila Nanotechnologies, aims to have its technology in over a million electric vehicle (EVs) batteries by the middle of the next decade, Chief Executive Gene Berdichevsky said in an interview.
Silicon has a higher energy density than the graphite traditionally used as part of battery anodes. Batteries are comprised of an anode and cathode, the negative and positive parts, respectively, between which electrical current flows.
Sila, which started at a laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says it has developed technology that can replace graphite entirely, helping to boost capacity and range.
Researchers at Vrije University in Brussels estimate that using silicon can cut the cost per kilowatt hour of EVs by 30 percent.
Sila, which counts BMW AG
"The year we have our eye on for being in the first vehicles is 2023 so we'll need to get up to many gigawatt hours of capacity to make a meaningful impact in the automotive space," said Berdichevsky, a former Tesla Inc
While Sila's product replaces graphite entirely, Canadian graphite material producer Elcora Advanced Materials Corp
"We've had a lot of discussions with lithium-ion battery manufacturers and all of them are studying silicon sprinkled into their graphite electrodes," said Shane Beattie, Elcora's chief technology officer.
Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore
"There is a lot of potential value for the battery industry to be gained from these developments," said Marc Grynberg, Umicore's chief executive. "That's why we want to be out there in the market."
(Reporting by Alan Charlish in Gdynia; Editing by Ernest Scheyder and Tom Brown)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
U.S. home sales fall as tight supply boosts prices | Reuters
France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.