Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!

Electric Vehicles


Batteries Today

There are 4 separate drivers for current battery technology:

  • Cost
  • Size and Weight
  • Capacity
  • Recharge rates and cycles

An example of an emerging industry for batteries is electric vehicles. These require high recharge rates, high capacity, high recharge cycles and acceptable weight, size and cost. So the current front runner in commercial batteries, the Lithium Ion battery, has some challenges meeting these requirements. But it is also the best we have right now.

Adding Super Capacitors

One approach to improving battery performance in peak demand situations is to add a Super Capacitor in parallel with a conventional lead acid battery. The Super Capacitor smooths the energy demand by delivering the high current needed for peak demand and the lead acid battery provides the bulk energy storage.

CSIRO UltraBattery Inventor - Dr Lan Lam

CSIRO UltraBattery Inventor – Dr Lan Lam

The CSIRO developed UltraBattery is a good example of Australian Technology Innovation in next generation batteries. It is one example of their work in Energy Storage. And also good example of their partnerships with industry to bring next generation technologies to commercial reality.

New Battery Technologies

The front runner for the next generation of battery technologies is the Lithium Air Battery. This promises double the energy density per unit volume of Lithium Ion Batteries but at 20% of the weight. So ideal for Electric Vehicles where weight is one of the critical elements.

Lithium Air Battery Chemistry

Lithium Air Battery Chemistry

The reason this is such a promising technology is because it has:

  • high recharge efficiency (90%+)
  • high recharge cycles (>2000 versus 300 for some Lithium Ion batteries)
  • high energy density
  • low weight

So what is the catch?

Researchers believe commercial versions of this battery technology are only 10 years away. That isn’t that long for a new battery technology. The hurdles they still need to face are primarily in protecting the pollution from corroding the metal electrode and preventing dendrite growth which is an existing problem with Lithium Ion Batteries. The electrode wants pure oxygen and is corroded by moisture, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. So some challenges remain.

Using Existing Batteries Better

The other approach is the one we usually take. Use Existing Batteries Better.  This involves better power management, better battery management and rethinking the whole solution to a problem. We showed an example in a recent Remote Telemetry Case Study we did in the Internet of Things space where we took an installation that would have required a 200W solar panel and instead deployed a system that runs from 4xAA batteries for 2 years. The next step is to add an energy harvesting component with a suitable rechargeable technology to take the battery maintenance interval from 2 years to 5 years. Even with the best and most durable rechargeable battery technology around today for regular commercial applications, a 5 year maintenance interval is still needed.

So multiple approaches. I’m looking forward to the next set of breakthroughs in this area. Including marrying the CSIRO Super Capacitors with a Lithium Air Battery.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2015 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Victorian iAwards 2015

Last year at the Victorian iAwards 2014 , our client Rectifier Technologies Pacific took out 2 categories for Victoria. This year we are pleased to have 2 clients as finalists and at the iAwards ceremony this evening they both took out merit awards for their category. A merit award means they were judged to be within 5% of the category winners and so also qualify for inclusion in the National iAwards.

iAwards VIC Merit

iAwards VIC Merit

Sustainability

Rectifier Technologies Pacific received a Merit Award in the Sustainability category for the RT18 425V High Efficiency EV Charger Rectifier. This is an important technology breakthrough in high efficiency electric vehicle charging and we were pleased to see them received recognition for that. Software we developed for them is part of the product.

New Product

And Skynanny.net received a Merit Award in the New Product category. 

Skynanny.net iAward merit certificate

Skynanny.net iAward merit certificate – New Product

We are very pleased for Jason and Lynne who have had to persevere through a lot to get to this point. The combination of Bluetooth Smart, Qi Wireless Charging, 3G communications and GPS tracking in a device the surface area of a business card was a big technical challenge and deserved to be recognised.

Skynanny.net celebrate with Successful Endeavours and Zain Digital

Skynanny.net celebrate with Successful Endeavours and Zain Digital

Our congratulations also go to Zain Digital for their work in development of the App and Web Services that supports the product.

The list of winners and merit award recipients can be found at Victorian iAwards Winners 2015.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2015 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.