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Hitachi 10-year Lithium-ion Battery Prototype

Hitachi Prototypes 10-year Lithium-ion Battery

Hitachi announced this week that it had developed a prototype of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery cell that will double the typical useful life of the technology to more than 10 years.

While Hitachi said the new technology will be aimed first at industrial batteries for electric vehicles and wind farms, these advancements are certain to trickle down to power tool applications and consumer electronics in short time. This is especially true with the the pending overcrowding of lithium-ion factories and manufacturers that are expected to oversaturate the market in just a few years.

Li-ion batteries are attractive as a power source, principally because they have about 4x the power density of their lead-acid counterparts. The downside is their relatively high cost and a service life that limits them to around 5 years – half that of lead-acid technology.

Hitachi stated that it had developed a new composite oxide material (a lithium-manganese spinel (LiMn204) for you techies) for the battery’s cathode, which improves its resistance to attack by acids in the electrolyte. There are two major components to battery life reduction, the resistance to these acids and the build-up of crystal deposits within the electrolyte.

Obviously, Hitachi hasn’t provided exact schematics for the new technology, but the cathode substitutes manganese for the more commonly used cobalt.

Hitachi did not specify when the battery would enter production, but said it will be refocusing on ecological businesses, which includes battery production for electric vehicles as part of its plan to return to profitability.

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