Last week I came across an article about a fuel cell being used in a manned airplane, and I found out that the perspectives of fuel cells being used in actual commercial airplanes as primary sources are not so great, since the companies don’t want hydrogen powering their machines yet, or in the near future.
Now, there’s another piece of information telling that Toshiba has developed an advanced type of Lithium-Ion batteries, the SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery). They say it has the capacity of charging within 5 minutes at 90% of its capacity, and it is being able to bear 5000 to 6000 charges until it starts losing capacity. They used the battery to demonstrate these on a laptop.
Altair Nano also has some type of battery that charges very fast and has a large power density, and has incorporated them into the recently-unveiled Lightning GT electric vehicle. In fact, there are several similarities between the Toshiba SCiB battery and Altair Nano’s: they both use a titanate anode with a cobalt cathode.
The interesting thing is that the price for the new Toshiba SCiB battery is expected to be much lower than Altair’s, who puts about $2/Wh, while Toshiba, having much more capital and much more manufacturing capacity, isn’t expected to ask more than $0.30-$0.40/Wh on their SCiB battery. Even the projected Volt battery is more expensive: $0.63/Wh.
Toshiba has planned to put those super-duper batteries in an electric vehicle! A Bicycle, ladies and gentlemen! Yes, the magnificent bicycle, who will be made in partnership with Schwinn, will have a charging time of 30 minutes, due to the lack of cooling in the small SCiB pack. They also don’t plan into hurrying of mass producing these batteries, even if they would be competitive to Lithium Polymer and could be used in larger electric vehicles.
Here’s a quote from Toshiba: “In addition to applications that include electric bicycles, motorcycles, automated guided vehicles, electric forklift trucks and construction machinery, which already use rechargeable batteries, the SCiB can be applied to electric power regeneration and stabilization in emergency power sources and wind power systems. Application in hybrid cars is also planned, with the intent of extending application to electric cars in the future, after advancing development of a high-performance SCiB cell.”
So, once again, like in the case of hydrogen fuel cells not being wanted to be used in powering planes in the near future, now a large manufacturer like Toshiba doesn’t want to put their batteries immediately in what could ease our fossil fuel related pains. They may need development, testing, perfecting, I understand. But this time, we have larger expectations from Toshiba than we have from other much smaller startups, who struggle a lot more to release something viable.
Hurry up, Toshiba, the world needs good energy storage, and you’ll lose the wave, if you don’t act quick! But… what do we know?