Saturday, March 05, 2016

An "all electron" battery??

At the DARPA-E website:

Stanford is developing an all-electron battery that would create a completely new class of energy storage devices for EVs. Stanford's all-electron battery stores energy by moving electrons rather than ions. Electrons are lighter and faster than the ion charge carriers in conventional Li-Ion batteries. Stanford's all-electron battery also uses an advanced structural design that separates critical battery functions, which increases both the life of the battery and the amount of energy it can store. The battery could be charged 1000s of times without showing a significant drop in performance.

Potential Impact:
If successful, Stanford would create an entirely new class of EV batteries capable of storing much more energy than traditional Li-Ion batteries, facilitating widespread EV use.

Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil--the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.

Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the U.S. transportation sector.


The site "sustainableskies" offers some additional information:

Offerings might be commercial versions of all-electron batteries developed by Dr. Frederich Prinz and his team, with leadership by CEO Jagdeep Singh, described by Cleantechnica as “a Silicon Valley rock star,” with a “solid track record in cutting edge tech.”

Prinz’s work with an “all electron battery effect,” related “to the use of inclusions embedded in a dielectric structure between two electrodes of a capacitor. Electrons can tunnel through the dielectric between the electrodes and the inclusions, thereby increasing the charge storage density relative to a conventional capacitor.

Another patent describes the use of antiperovskite materials, those sharing a crystal structure similar to naturally occurring perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide. According to the patent, “The formation and use thereof of antiperovskite material enables a metallic lithium anode, which increases the capacity and therefore the energy density of any lithium-based electrochemical storage device.”

This adds up to a battery with a solid-state electrolyte rather than a conventional liquid electrolyte. Such batteries could be more energy dense and much safer, not being loaded with flammable liquids. They could also survive thousands of charge-discharge cycles. VW looks to hit a 100 euro per kilowatt-hour goal for such energy storage. If Prinze, QuantumScape and VW can all come together (remembering Dr. Winterkorn’s promised decision by July) this might lead to exciting battery developments in Silicon Valley on an aggressive schedule.


Inspection of US application 20120156545 (which matured into US Patent 8,877,367) suggests the battery is a capacitor:

In an All-Electron Battery (AEB), inclusions embedded in an active region between two electrodes of a capacitor provide enhanced energy storage. Electrons can tunnel to/from and/or between the inclusions, thereby increasing the charge storage density relative to a conventional capacitor. One or more barrier layers is present in an AEB to block DC current flow through the device. The AEB effect can be enhanced by using multi-layer active regions having inclusion layers with the inclusions separated by spacer layers that don't have the inclusions. The use of cylindrical geometry or wrap around electrodes and/or barrier layers in a planar geometry can enhance the basic AEB effect. Other physical effects that can be employed in connection with the AEB effect are excited state energy storage, and formation of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

This case is related to PCT/US11/01106 and to U.S. Pat. No. 8,524,398.

The issued '367 patent notes:

This invention was made with Government support under contract number W911NF-07-2-0027 awarded by the US Army Research Laboratory, and under contract numbers DE-SC0001060 and DE-AR0000069 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.

The first five claims of US '367 recite:

A solid-state energy storage device comprising: a first electrode; a second electrode; one or more active layers and one or more tunneling barrier layers sandwiched between the first electrode and the second electrode; wherein the active layers comprise inclusions embedded within a solid active layer matrix, and wherein electrons can flow to or from the inclusions by tunneling through the active layer matrix; wherein the tunneling barrier layers substantially prevent electron tunneling across the tunneling barrier layers and also substantially block all other direct current flow; wherein the device is capable of storing energy by establishing a charge separation with the inclusions, and wherein the device is capable of providing energy by using the charge separation as an energy source; and wherein the energy storage device is configured to provide electrostatic energy storage.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is a two-terminal device having only the first and second electrodes as external terminals.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the first and second electrodes each have a geometrical area of 1 .mu.m.sup.2 or greater.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the charge separation between the inclusions is established by application of a voltage of 5V or more between the first and second electrodes.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein a volume averaged charge separation density of the device when the charge separation is present is 10.sup.-4 e.sup.-/nm.sup.3 or greater.


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