This new technology allows the operations of the battery at extreme temperatures without requiring a thermal management system. The technology, Nanophosphate EXT, is designed to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for heating or cooling systems, which can cost $500 to $600 per vehicle.
A123 Systems is a developer and manufacturer of advanced NanophosphateÆ lithium iron phosphate batteries and systems. A123 operates a plant in Livonia and currently employs 780 employees at its southeast Michigan facilities in Livonia and Romulus.
A123 Systems officials said the technology is expected to create sizeable new opportunities within the transportation and telecommunications markets.
“We believe Nanophosphate EXT is a game-changing breakthrough that overcomes one of the key limitations of lead acid, standard lithium ion and other advanced batteries,” said David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, in a prepared statement.
Vieau said Nanophosphate EXT can reduce or eliminate the need for costly thermal management systems, which will help deploy the lithium ion battery in a significant number of applications.
“The benefit of this technology is more power available at cold temperatures and longer life at higher temperatures,” said Jeff Kessen, vice president of technical marketing for A123 s Automotive Group.
According to the testing performed to date at the Ohio State University s Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the very low observed rate of aging, cells built with A123 s Nanophosphate EXT are expected to be capable of retaining more than 90 percent of initial capacity after 2,000 full charge-discharge cycles at 45 degrees Celsius or 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Keller said that temperature would be relevant and needed in the Southwest or Death Valley, Calif.
20 Percent Increased Power
CAR has also started testing the cold temperature performance of Nanophosphate EXT, which A123 expects will deliver a 20-percent increase in power at temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. Keller said that is equivalent to temperatures in the Arctic Circle.
That extreme temperature capability is important from an engineering and cost standpoint, Keller said. “Automakers want the same battery for the same car in the same area,” Keller said.
It also allows A123 to compete with microhybrid vehicles and the start-stop engines, improving the cold cranking that occurs for vehicles that shut off at traffic lights. “That is demanding on the battery of a car with a start-stop engine,” Keller said.
Yann Guezennec, senior fellow at CAR and professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State University, said the performance of A123 s new Nanophosphate EXT at high temperatures is “unlike anything we ve ever seen from lead acid, lithium ion or any other battery technology,
“Nanophosphate EXT maintains impressive cycle life even at extreme high temperatures without sacrificing storage or energy capabilities, especially as compared with the competitive leading lithium ion technology that we used on our head-to-head testing. If our testing also validates the low-temperature power capabilities that A123 s data is showing, we believe Nanophosphate EXT could be a game-changing battery breakthrough for the electrification of transportation, including the emerging micro hybrid vehicle segment.”
According to Lux Research, the worldwide market for micro hybrids is projected to reach more than 39 million vehicles in 2017, creating a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices.
Nanophosphate EXT can be used for telecommunications backup in foreign countries, and replace the lead acid batteries deployed at new and existing global cell tower sites built off-grid or in regions with unstable power. These sites typically require diesel generators to support the batteries, and due to the lengthy charge time necessary for lead acid batteries, the generators are often forced to operate for extended periods.
At cell towers in extreme temperature environments, Nanophosphate EXT further reduces operating and maintenance costs by minimizing or eliminating the need for air conditioning or heating. In higher-temperature climates, for example, the cost of installing and running the air conditioning necessary to properly cool the lead acid batteries can represent up to 50 percent of the total power consumed at each cell tower site. A123 believes that Nanophosphate EXT has the potential to significantly expand the global addressable market for its telecommunications backup solutions to more than $1.2 billion by 2016.