Enables Rapid Charging and Discharging with High Voltage, Large Capacity Performance
TOKYO, April 5, 2006 _ Ube Industries, Ltd. today announced that it has successfully developed a new energy storage source that enables capacitor-like rapid charging and discharging with high voltage, large capacity performance.
The electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) of the future demand a power source that satisfies a variety of characteristics. In addition to holding a high voltage, the power source must have a high energy density for long-lasting performance under a single charge. Rapid charging and discharging as well as safety are also important characteristics.
Lithium-ion batteries are leading candidates for use as energy storage sources in these applications. Conventional lithium-ion batteries use a compound with layers of materials such as cobalt or nickel as a positive electrode, combined with graphite as a negative electrode. Although lithium-ion batteries hold a high voltage and have high energy density, rapid charging and discharging is a problem.
Meanwhile, electric double layer capacitors use a special activated carbon for the positive and negative electrode, which enables rapid charging and discharging. However, the technology is not without its drawbacks. The capacitors hold less than 3 volts and have an energy density that is only 1/100th that of lithium-ion batteries.
Significant research has been conducted in recent years in an attempt to overcome the drawbacks of each technology. This includes research into lithium-ion capacitors that combine the features of lithium-ion batteries and electric double layer capacitors.
The new energy storage source developed by Ube Industries, a dominant market leader in electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries, employs different carbon materials for the positive and negative electrode. It also uses a non-lithium electrolyte, which was developed in an application of one of Ube Industries' specialty electrolytes. These features result in capacitor-like rapid charging and discharging, as well as improved safety. In addition, the new energy storage source delivers more than 10 times the energy density of a capacitor while holding 3.2 volts, despite using a non-lithium electrolyte.
The company has built a compact electric vehicle prototype that is entirely powered using the new energy storage source. The prototype vehicle provides evidence of the practical usefulness of the technology and will help the company to implement further improvements aimed at future commercialization. The prototype vehicle has already been tested in city driving.
Ube Industries is positioning the battery materials business as a priority business segment. The company is rapidly expanded its business of supplying separators and electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries, the market for which has grown significantly due to their use in meeting the power supply requirements of today' society of pervasive computing. Ube Industries created the market for specialty electrolytes and is a leader in high-end electrolytes. In the separator market, the company has focused on expanding into overseas markets by capitalizing on the cost competitiveness of its products. At the same time, the company has developed grades of separator products that are specifically designed for EV and HEV applications. These products have become the leading choice among numerous manufacturers engaged in full-scale production. Ube Industries also carries out development in the battery and peripheral materials segment. The new energy storage source represents just one of its development successes in this field.
The battery materials segment currently generates annual sales of approximately 10 billion yen for Ube Industries. The company hopes to increase sales to beyond 20 billion yen by 2010. To achieve this goal, the company will increase sales of its existing electrolyte and separator products. It will also continue expanding into the battery and peripheral materials segment as marked by the successful development of the new electric storage source.
The new electric storage source is representative of Ube Industries' ongoing strategy to use new technologies and concepts to supply materials that create or identify new markets.
|New energy storage source and compact electric vehicle (EV) prototype equipped
with new energy storage source