The Beginning of the End for Li-ion Dominance?

Author:
Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Date
01/01/2024

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Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Happy New Year to all of our readers from each of us at the magazine. Last year was the first one where things really seemed to return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. This year and every year from now into the foreseeable future will be important and exciting for the power industry. There are great challenges ahead, and many of them require power electronics as a solution, for example the changeover to electric vehicles, the move to renewable energy, and making the electric motors that consume half the energy generated in the world more efficient. That’s just to name a few of the tasks that will be facing the power industry in the coming years.   

Most of the challenges mentioned above will require better batteries as part of any solution, and one thing that is certain for the year ahead is that our reliance on batteries will increase. Our Special Report this month looks at EVs, Hybrids and Infrastructure, but it’s no surprise that two of the articles in the section focus heavily on batteries, as they will be critical to the successful electrification of the transport industry. The main reasons that electric vehicles have been slower to take off than we had hoped is the lack of range, the time it takes to recharge and the cost. All of these drawbacks can be attributed to the batteries that we have now.

Billions of dollars are being given to researchers around the globe to try to develop better batteries. They have been tasked to investigate new chemistries, and overcome the problems that stop alternative batteries being commercialized. Right now, we are using lithium-ion batteries for the majority of tasks, but in the future that hegemony might disappear as other types of battery become available that are superior to Li-ion for specific applications. At the moment, only sodium-ion batteries have started to challenge Li-ion in small electric vehicles. In the next few years, that could change as several car manufacturers promise that they will bring solid-state batteries to the market.

Our first Special Report article comes from Versinetic. In the article, the company’s senior firmware engineer, Julian Skidmore, takes an in-depth look at the battery market, including materials, availability and cost. It is a very comprehensive look at almost everything concerning the development of new batteries. The second Special Report article comes from Analog Devices. Here, Stephan Prüfling, and Norbert Bieler talk about wireless battery management systems. Each cell in a battery pack needs to be monitored constantly for its charge and condition. Using wires to do that adds cost, weight and complexity to the design. wBMS are an alternative that promise real results.

As well as the articles in the Special Report, the magazine will also feature general power articles in our Tech Focus section, as well as the latest news and views from the industry.

 

Enjoy your read!

 

Best Regards.

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD

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