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It definitely looks like long life Lithium Metal technology is moving closer to commercialization. First, we learned that Berkeley Labs, CMU, and 24-M were making progress with Lithium Electrode Sub-Assemblies (LESA) - a composite polymer ceramic electrolyte, lithium metal assembly. Now, SK Innovation another leading battery manufacturer plans on using UT research to build a Lithium Metal battery. You can read more about the microporous polymer matrix with the unique gel-polymer electrolyte that John Goodenough and Dr. Hadi Khani at The University of Texas Austin are developing here: "Micropores-in-macroporous gel polymer electrolytes for alkali metal batteries" DOI: 10.1039/C9SE00690G, in Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2020, 4, pages 177-189
Correction: on Arumugam Manthiram who invented the original Spinel cathode. John Goodenough’s group began to explore oxide cathodes in the 1980s at the University of Oxford in England. Arumugam Manthiram was in that group. Their ideas led to the discovery of three classes of oxide cathodes by Goodenough’s group in the 1980s, involving three visiting scientists from three different parts of the world, including Koichi Mizushima from Japan who worked on the layered oxide cathodes, Michael Thackeray from South Africa who worked on the spinel oxide cathodes, and Arumugam Manthiram from India who worked on the polyanion cathodes. Reference: "A reflection on lithium-ion battery cathode chemistry" Nature Communications, 11, Article number: 1550 (2020)
This is NOT the Nissan AESC Lithium Manganese Oxide battery (LMO) from the Gen1 Leaf. LMO suffers from short cycle life which was not helped by the lack of a battery thermal management system. Nissan in the Gen4 Leaf finally upgraded to NCM811 battery chemistry and a thermal management system. This LMNO Spinel cathode is a low cost cathode with what looks like an effective use of Nickel. The development is led by Arumugam Manthiram who invented the original Spinel cathode. You can read the entire article here, thanks to UCSD: A longer life cathode would use even more Nickel and some Aluminum which was posted on July 21 in GCC: U Texas team develops cobalt-free high-energy lithium-ion battery ... This type of cathode might be what Tesla is looking at in it's Cobalt-free battery and explains why Elon Musk is looking at large supplies of Nickel. It is not as cheap as LMNO but would last 4000 cycles with the proper electrolyte and a single crystal structure, Tesla and others are looking at better anodes as well, either Silicon or Lithium Metal. This would increase energy density and reduce cost somewhat. This could happen soon let's hope.
This work is part of the ARPA-E IONICS Program which is developing lithium-electrode sub-assemblies, or LESAs, drop-in replacements for the conventional graphite anode. The LESA coatings have been integrated with 24M’s SemiSolid cathodes and demonstrate an improvement to cycle life compared with conventional Li-metal anodes in pouch-cell testing.cathodes and demonstrate an improvement to cycle life compared with conventional Li-metal anodes in pouch-cell testing. You can read more here:
Just a few points about this Cobalt-Free cathode. 1. Arumugam Manthiram, one of the pioneers of Lithium Ion batteries, knows cathodes. 2. The next step in Lithium Ion batteries is Cobalt-Free. Tesla is probably going to announce something like this in September. Jeff Dahn (who works closely with Tesla) has done extensive research in zero and low Cobalt batteries. 3. SVolt has already announced NMx Cobalt-Free batteries for their Great Wall Chinese automobiles that will be produced next year. 4. In the future, the amount of Nickel (89% in this study) needs to be reduced, e.g. more Manganese which has a lower cost.
This expeditionary ISV is a light and agile all-terrain troop carrier, it is NOT meant to replace the M1126 Stryker an eight wheeled, armored personnel carrier that weighs 20 tons. It is similar to the Lightweight Tactical All Terrain Vehicles (LTATV) based on the Polaris MRZR-4 and used by Special Operations Forces (SOF). One thing SOF like to do is take a commercial pickup add armor, CS4ISR equipment, and off-road suspension. Almost like an insurgents "Technical". This vehicle would not take much to add such a kit, making it look like a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 off-road truck. Check out this story on "War Zone, the Drive" (
Hyliion seems like they have a good solution for a Natural Gas Hybrid Class 8 truck. Partners include Dana for the electric drive and Toshiba for battery cells. Hiller Truck Tech of Canada probably helps on NG Conversion equipment (they already have taken delivery of a natural gas-electric hybrid Class 8 tractor, a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia with a 400 hp 12L Cummins natural gas engine, coupled with a retrofit Hyliion electric axle). So the components look like standard, proven technology with Hyliion providing the overall system.
New Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cathodes are more energy dense (no Cobalt or Nickel, both are expensive). China uses LFP in many autos and the Tesla Model 3 MIC (made in China) uses CATL LFP batteries. LFP is significantly cheaper, lasts 4000 cycles, and could be made more energy using two more technologies: Soteria polymer electrode conductors and the the 24M semisolid electrodes. Soteria conductors use a non-conductive polymer substrate and eliminate 90% of the metal (aluminum and copper), reference: The 24M technology is already used by several manufacturers including GPSC, Itochu Corporation, and Kyocera Group.
The fuel cells are powered by hydrogen, pure or reformed Some PowerCell fuel cell systems can run on hydrocarbon fuels such as methanol, ethanol, diesel, biogas or natural gas.
The RAV4 is Toyota's number one selling vehicle and this is the best RAV4. There really is no excuse not to buy a PHEV, either the the Toyota RAV4 Prime or the Ford Escape PHEV.
A good looking Crossover with very good EV range and with up to $7500 incentives makes it cheaper than the Hybrid!
MHEV do not look like a good electric option anymore, maybe a standard feature on all ICEV. However, the high voltage variant of the Punch Powertrain DT2 designed for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) could be worthwhile particularly for low end vehicles (below $30k). For high end vehicles ($40k and above) Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (now part of Groupe PSA) will use the ZF eight-speed automatic transmissions for use in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles.
Correction: Remove all the Cobalt from the Sodium battery Cathode.
Another possible application of this Sodium battery might be a Range Extender for a Lithium Ion PHEV. Using a long life "Cobalt free" (either LFP or the SVOLT LMNx) Lithium Ion battery of less than 25 kWh for the daily use and a 55 kWh Sodium Range Extender operating less than 30 times a year would provide a low cost, low Lithium EV. It would be even better to all the Cobalt from the Sodium cathode, using a Manganese Nickel cathode similar to the SVOLT cathode, Chunsheng Wang at UMD already has done research in this area ( Using Cell-to-Pack Technology, this battery would be lighter than the current Tesla Model 3 battery).
The Cessna Grand Caravan is used by Harbour Air Seaplanes in Vancouver, Canada that plans to go all electric.They use single-engine aircraft (carrying between 6 to 19 passengers) and have routes of short length of (most average around 30 min or less). Harbour Air already has converted their other type aircraft (the DeHaviland Beaver) to use the Magnix 750 hp electric motor. While this is a limited application, it is still a significant milestone and proves that electric aviation works.
While this is a Lithium Metal battery, being a little more critical one should compare this to the SVOLT NMx L6 cobalt-free long cell which has a 1.2 million km warranty (using single crystal tech similar to Jeff Dahn's ,i.e.Tesla million mile battery that still has a NMC532 cathode). The SVOLT battery is ready for use in EV next year and currently has 240 Wh/kg, with Cell to Pack battery design this will be better than the Tesla Model 3 battery pack density and costs less than $100/kWh at the pack level. SVOLT is already a member of the Soteria Innovation Group so expect mostly polymer current collectors. We can see what Tesla shows on "Battery Day", However Chinese manufacturers appear to be making big headlines today.
More detail information is at FlightGlobal ( or Wikipedia. The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan can carry 10-14 people. This "eCaravan" was configured with the Magnix Magni500 Grand Caravan to carry 4-5 passengers on flights up to 100 miles, taking into account the need for reserve power. From the FlightGobal article: "The Magni500 on the Grand Caravan receives power from a 750V lithium-ion battery system weighing roughly one tonne, though Magnix is studying other technologies, including lithium-sulfur batteries and hydrogen fuel cells."
Actually 350 Wh/kg energy density at the pouch level is very good. Most research typically reports energy density at the component (anode or cathode) or better at the cell level. In this study on Lithium metal anode batteries ( done by LG Chem R&D and others shows 679 Wh/kg at the cell level (anode, cathode, and separator) results in 288 Wh/kg at the pouch level (current collectors, anode, separators, electrolyte, cathode, and pouch packaging, sealant taps). At the full Battery this would be significantly less. However, there is good news as reported here: Specifically, they developed new electrolytes with enhanced stability against Li-metal, optimized the use of thick cathodes against a thin lithium foil, and applied cell-stack pressure to extend cycling life. Tesla and others are using "Dry Processing" of electrodes to reduce process time and costs that will create cathodes up to 1 mm with no binders. Electrolytes and single crystal cathodes are extending battery life greatly. Companies like Soteria ( are replacing the copper and aluminum current collectors with polymer that also reduces fire risk. Finally, CATL, BYD, SVolt, and Tesla are going to Cell-to-Pack technology eliminating hardware in the Battery Pack. So looking forward to 2021 or 2022, actual production batteries should be at the 400 Wh/kg Battery Pack level (for reference the Tesla Model 3 Battery pack is at the 170 Wh/kg level), and with no Cobalt at a cost less than $100/kWh.
Obviously, Dr. Siemer knows that ORNL is also working on the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) technology with TerraPower, INL, and Southern Company (where I worked in the 70's during the heyday of Nuclear Power development, Alvin Vogtle was the Chairman and Plant Vogtle started construction when I was there). The MCFR follows on the great pioneering MSR work that Alvin Weinberg oversaw and one that I hope succeeds. The MCFR is a traditional size reactor, after testing, Southern Company and TerraPower plan to develop a 1,100-megawatt prototype reactor by 2030. Can we beat that timeline - Plant Vogtle Units 1 and 2 took over 10 years to complete, Units 3 and 4 not much better? Will DOE make Small Modular Reactors easy to license? Can Additive Manufacturing make Reactor technology cheaper? An 80 MW electric (150 MW thermal) power plant that fits on a truck, that lasts 30 years, uses SNF, buried underground, and costs less than $3000/kW seems like a good idea. We need them both.
Some more data found on the Lightyear One website (, "Manufactured by SunPower, a world leader in solar efficiency, the Maxeon solar cells integrated into the roof and bonnet of Lightyear One provide enough power to add 12km of range every hour to the car." So using this measure, in Florida with 4.7 hours of annualized sunlight per day x 365 days/year x 12 km = 20,586 km or 12,791.5 miles (>95% the average American drives over 13,400 miles per year.) This would work on big rig trailers, campers, or the UPS Range Extended Electric Truck.
It's claimed the average American drives over 13,400 miles per year. Let's redo the calculations. Based on somewhat real data. Lightyear One will use SunPower® Maxeon® solar cells. A SunPower 400 watt panel measures 61.3 inches by 41.2 inches or 17.54 square feet. Lightyear One has 5 m2 (54 sq ft) of solar panels. So 54/17.54 = 3 SunPower panels or 1200 watts. According to the Tampa Electric "Solar Calculator" Estimated monthly generation per kW of PV installed: 131.40 kW. That would be 157.68 kWh/month for Tampa, Florida generated by Lightyear One. According to the WLTP, Lightyear One requires 13.4 kWh/100 miles. Annual Lightyear One generation in Florida = 12 x 157.68 kWh or 1892.16 kWh, so 14,120 miles @ 13.4 kWh/100 miles. Actual mileage of course would vary.
First of all, we know ORNL knows Additive Manufacturing, remember the classic 3d printed Shelby Cobra they built. My questions relate to what is the plan for the TCR beyond this test reactor. We know that this is a very small 3 GW thermal reactor uses Yttrium Hydride as the moderator (NASA used this during the 1960s for very light space based designs) - Mars mission maybe? It is a high temperature helium gas cooled reactor, so very efficient - could it be like the General Atomic Energy Multiplier Module (EM2) which is designed to operate 30 years and can use Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF). I believe ORNL is working with Idaho National Laboratory on SNF for this project. Any thoughts?
Benefiting from CTP technology, which decreases conventional module parts, the battery pack has higher integration efficiency in 90% and ultimately achieves the system energy density of an LFP CTP pack that is as high as 160 Wh/kg. This is a very important point: CATL Cell-to-Pack Technology using low cost, long life, and high power Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells can deliver a battery pack with almost the density of a Tesla Model 3 battery pack (170 Wh/kg) and better than a Chevy Bolt battery pack (151 Wh/kg). These packs are already less than $100/kWh and are probably the reason Tesla is using this technology in the Chinese Model 3.
E-P, What about a Spent Nuclear Fuel Pool Reactor to supply the 50 °C heat? China built something like this for district heating, but Ammonia production using a zero carbon source would be better.