5 Comments

Summary:

As it ventures into renewable energy, 3M is also making strides in its other energy business: batteries. The Minnesota-based manufacturer is already a primary supplier of cathode and anode materials to most of the world’s major battery suppliers and is credited with helping battery makers deliver […]

lithiumionbatterycomponentsAs it ventures into renewable energy, 3M is also making strides in its other energy business: batteries. The Minnesota-based manufacturer is already a primary supplier of cathode and anode materials to most of the world’s major battery suppliers and is credited with helping battery makers deliver a higher capacity lithium-ion battery to market.

But now 3M is working on a new material that can make lithium-ion batteries for such products as power tools, laptops and cars lighter. Here’s how it works: Because batteries are comprised of several cells, they typically require an electronic system to keep the cells balanced. “If one cell is doing more than another, you get a disbalance and then your battery won’t charge right,” explains Chris Milker, business manager at 3M.

3M’s new material allows this cell supervision to happen chemically instead of electronically, greatly reducing the weight and size of the battery. It’s called a “shuttle technology,” because the materials contains a chemical “shuttle” to help the cells remain balanced for longer and extend the life of the battery, according to Milker.

The company is currently qualifying its chemical shuttle technology for power tool batteries and plans to commercialize the technology in laptop batteries, cell phone batteries, and potentially automotive batteries within a year. If it works as well as 3M claims, we may see the company get in on a little large-scale storage battery action down the road, which would dovetail nicely with its solar and wind projects.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Great news! Lithium-ion definitely has the potential to be the “next big thing” for solar storage. It’s what wannabe off-gridders are waiting for.

  2. Battery Tech Breakthroughs: What They Mean for Cars & Clean Energy Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    [...] storage research? Taken in combination, recent breakthroughs — which also include 3M’s recently announced battery balancing technology — reflect an industry very much on the move. With a massive [...]

  3. How Exciting Are These New Battery Advances? – Environment and Energy Thursday, March 19, 2009

    [...] energy storage research? Taken in combination, recent breakthroughs—which also include 3M’s recently announced battery balancing technology—reflect an industry very much on the move. With a massive injection [...]

  4. I found your blog from google and read your posts. It’s fun and I just add your blog to my Google Reader.

  5. The Case of the Home Energy Boom: 3M Invests in The Energy Detective Sunday, January 17, 2010

    [...] disparate products as post-it notes and medical supplies, and more recently renewable energy and batteries, said it has invested in Energy Inc, the makers of the home energy management device The Energy [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post