24 March 2015
Bloomberg reports that the Volkswagen Group will decide by July how to proceed with solid state energy storage technology under development by Quantumscape (earlier post). citing Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management, who spoke outside a press conference in Stuttgart.
According to the report, Winterkorn said that the technology’s potential to boost the range of battery-powered vehicles is compelling and tests are progressing. “Progress has been made, ” he said. Quantumscape several days ago posted 11 job openings, seeking a manager or director of battery manufacturing operations; a process engineering manager to lead a team in the development of a new energy storage technology from initial process concept through demonstration of stable production; and R&D technicians, battery engineers and scientists.
In December, Bloomberg reported that Volkswagen Group had taken a 5% stake in the company, which formed in 2010 to commercialize a novel solid-state energy storage technology—the “All-Electron Battery” (AEB), originally developed at Stanford and supported by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E BEEST program (earlier post ).
The All-Electron Battery stores energy by moving electrons, rather than ions, and uses electron/hole redox instead of capacitive polarization of a double-layer. ARPA-E said that the technology uses a novel architecture
that has potential for very high energy density because it decouples the two functions of capacitors: charge separation and breakdown strength.
In his remarks made at Stanford University in November 2014 during the award of the third Science Award for Electrochemistry to Dr. Vanessa Wood, noted that he saw “great potential ” in solid-state batteries. (Earlier post .)
In its most recent US patent application, published on 12 February 2015 and filed on 6 August 2013, Quantumscape outlined a solid-state Lithium-air battery cell using a garnet electrolyte material.
The solid state electrolyte enables a lithium metal anode plus a solid state catholyte with high conductivity to avoid the problems of decomposition with conventional liquid catholytes. The catholyte—which should be stable at >3V versus Li, highly conductive, and stable to air—is preferably an oxide material such as a garnet (La3 Li7 Zr2 O12 and variants) and may be coated with a conductive carbon via a vapor-phase or liquid-phase coating for electron conductivity.
Such a structure provides a high surface-area to provide a high density of reaction sites. The all solid-state system would enable high energy density, high power density, and reversibility of a lithium-air battery, according to the claims.
Other earlier patents relate to the electron battery.