NASA Prototype Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery. Source: Wikimedia Commons
An interesting article last week about research into the use of Magnesium instead of Lithium in batteries for, amongst other things, the electric car raises some interesting points concerning which players are lower risk investment in what may become a rapidly changing technological space.
First, the attraction of Magnesium. It is available in large quantities in the earth´s crust and is also relatively cheap. A breakthrough in the use of Magnesium in batteries for the electric car would certainly be very interesting for the industry as a whole.
This has been known for a long time – magnesium can be used as a very effective anode in battery technology. The problem has been to find a cathode with which it works well. A number of companies, such as Toyota, have been pursuing this mission.
However, recently one such company, Pellion Technologies, gave an interview to GreenTech Media suggesting that their own research is progressing quite well.
GTM quotes Josh Nevin, Pellion’s VP of Operations and Business Development, as offering the following insight:
“When you cycle a lithium anode, the lithium metal that plates grows like moss on a tree. This can eventually lead to problems…….. We don’t have that problem with magnesium, [which] plates in a nice, uniform distribution. Our team has been able to demonstrate over 3,000 cycles at 100 percent depth of discharge with less than 15 percent capacity fade.”