"Nano-Titanate" Car Batteries

The race to devise a next generation electrical storage system is heating up, with batteries competing with ultra-capacitors and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. In all three of these technologies, nanotechnology is held out as the key to breakthrough products. Our money is on batteries to extend their lead as the most practical overall solution out there.

A few days ago, Altair Nanotechnologies announced in a press release the long life specifications for its advanced lithium ion battery. This follows two earlier press releases, one regarding safety aspects, and one regarding fast charge features. Altair intends to release a fourth backgrounder on their new battery power capacity. Since most lithium ion batteries pack a usable 200+ watts per kilogram (some claim energy densities up to and over 300 watts per kilogram), we might expect no surprises there, but who knows?


In all of their press releases so far on this topic, longevity, quick charges, and heat management, Altair claims it is “replacing graphite with a patented nano-titanate material as the negative electrode in its NanoSafe batteries” which allows the breakthrough specifications.

For example, regarding the longevity of the battery, Altair says “This nano-titanate material is a “zero strain” material in terms of lithium ion internal deposition and release. The lithium ions have the same size as the sites they occupy in the nano-titanate particles. As a result the nano-titanate particles do not have to expand or shrink when the ions are entering or leaving the nano-titanate particles, therefore resulting in no (zero) strain to the nano-titanate material. This property results in a battery that can be charged and discharged significantly more often than conventional rechargeable batteries because of the absence of particle fatigue that plagues materials such as graphite. Conventional lithium batteries can be typically charged about 750 times before they are no longer useful, whereas, in laboratory testing, the Altairnano NanoSafe battery cells have now achieved over 9,000 charge and discharge cycles at charge and discharge rates up to 40 times greater than are typical of common batteries, and they still retain up to 85% charge capacity.”

In their backgrounder on why their battery can charge quickly, Altair makes some noteworthy claims: “By using nano-titanate materials as the negative electrode material, lithium metal plating does not occur because the electro-chemical properties of the nano-titanate allow the deposition of lithium in the particles at high rates. These electrical properties mean that even at very cold temperatures there is no risk of plating. No undesirable interaction takes place with the electrolyte in the Altairnano batteries, which permits the battery to be charged very rapidly, without the risk of shorting or thermal runaway. In fact, in recent laboratory testing, Altairnano has demonstrated that a NanoSafe cell can be charged to over 80% charge capacity in about one minute.”

Similarly, when discussing safety features, Altair believes their design precludes “thermal runaway” problems, stating “Using an innovative approach to rechargeable battery chemistry Altairnano uses a patented nano-titanate material as the negative electrode in its NanoSafe batteries. By making this novel change to traditional battery design it has achieved a high powered battery that is thermally stable, and therefore can not exhibit thermal runaway. By removing the highly reactive graphite from the battery design, and instead using nano-titanate materials as the negative electrode material no interaction takes place with the electrolyte in the Altairnano batteries. This results in an inherently safe battery.

Clearly this “nano-titanate” is the key ingredient. When will production versions of these batteries become available? How much will a powerpack cost that delivers, say, 50 usable KWh per charge? When will Altair no longer be just another promising research company with interesting battery technology, and graduate to actually manufacturing or licensing their designs to supply a burgeoning industry? And exactly what is the watt-hours per kilogram capacity for their new battery?

If you check the Yahoo finance profile on Altair (ALTI), you will see they are a research company, with a net loss of $12.6 million for the 12 month period ended 6-30-06, and at that time they had $14.4 million worth of cash available. So they have till mid-2007 to either raise more investor capital or start selling products. Their stock price is trending up, so maybe they’ll go back to the well.

There are hosts of companies that are springing up to do conversions of gas powered cars into battery powered cars. But how successful they are, ultimately, depends on research companies like Altair delivering the goods. Who will be shipping the next generation battery? Keep an eye on these guys.


14 Responses to “"Nano-Titanate" Car Batteries”
  1. Impeck Lopez says:

    Why is it so impossible to make everything?

  2. WILLIAM RAHMIG says:

    THIS BATTERY IS FOR REAL ACCORDING TO UQM TECHNOLOGIES WHO HAVE ESTABLISHED A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH ALTI. CHECK THE PHEONIX MOTORCAR COMPANY FOR ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON THE BATTERY AND THE ELECTRIC CAR THEY PRODUCE FOR FLEET OPERATORS. THIS IS A PARADIGM CHANGER.

  3. Bill Dale says:

    Phoenix has been making great progress.

    Despite billions of dollars being poured into hydrogen fuel cells and alternate fuels such as biodiesel and E-85, fuel cells especially appear to have no chance against the cars that have been appearing recently. The new battery technologies, particularly those used in the Phoenix and perhaps the Zenn as well, make competing systems look like poor investments.

    In late February, the CEO of Phoenix had a conference with President Bush in te Oval Office concerning energy policy, and showed their electric vehicle (EV) off to the President and the media in the south lawn of the White House. The video of that event is shown on the White House official website.

    I rode in the Phoenix EV at Petersen Automotive Museum on March 1, and was very impressed by its performance, as were other guests. Phoenix had donated a custom EV to the museum for its permanent collection.

    There has been much positive press on their EV in the last few weeks, and they have signed contracts with utility companies to provide hundreds of their EVs for commercial use. Their battery appears to be the best by far of any available yet, so I expect them to make rapid growth for years to come. I’m on their waiting list!

  4. jeff scherer says:

    A VAST REDUCTION OF COMPLEXITY OF GREENING ISSUES

    A VERY IMPORTANT COMMENT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS WEBSITE’S VISTORS THAT REDUCES GREENING ISSUE COMPLEXITY GREATLY SO PEOPLE CAN PROMOTE MORE STRONGLY GREENING IN GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD IS RELATED TO THESE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES IN THE GREEN VEHICLES SECTION OF ECOWORLD UNDER THE TITLE OF GM’S VOLT CONCEPT CAR.

  5. Bob Schwartz says:

    But these battery cars overheat, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can’t be made in volume for 30 years. There are more fuel cell cars running for far less money already. Fuel cell will win. Detroit and the oil companies have already decided thatr and you will never change their minds.

  6. Rook Wetzel says:

    You are absolutely right Mr. Schwartz; Detroit and the oil companies will never change their minds. However Toyota et al will embrace the future of the EV. In ten years you will not be able to buy parts for your Ford or Gm cars and Saudi Arabia will be sitting on the worlds largest suppy of unwanted oil in twenty years.

  7. daniel Fodge says:

    Where can i purchase nano titanate batteries for my car ?

  8. daniel Fodge says:

    where & when can i purchase nano titanate batteries?

  9. bxy says:

    You can not purchase these batteries, they are not for sale, the patent holder will not allow them to be sold.

  10. Ed Ring says:

    bxy – you may want to try this company http://www.cctpowerco.com/index.html, they use “solid polymer” technology – they claim to have a factory in China with 1,200 workers. They have North American headquarters in Temple City, in Southern California, and can be reached at 626-350-9600.

  11. John says:

    This is just another con. Over how many years have we heard all this rubbish before and nothing is ever delivered.
    Outfits like these just suck up money from gullible investors and just before the money runs out they publish a wildly optimistic PR document that promises the moon. They then get more money because “success is just around the corner.” Finally the investors want results; that’s when the whole thing collapses and goes out of business. In the meantime the folks who conned the investors have done very nicely thank you!
    There are quite a number of companies that fit this profile.

    This all reminds me a bit of the alchemists of old.
    Sorry folks there is no magic pill.

  12. acl0515 says:

    it really irritating when in between typing on a important mail suddenly the laptops starts beeping indicating low battery and unfortunately u dont have a power cord

Trackbacks/Pingbacks
  1. [...] This is more true than the distinguished Mr. Wagoner may realize. California is the home of automotive industry upstarts Tesla Motors in the Silicon Valley, and Phoenix Motorcars in California’s southland. Tesla Motors is noteworthy because they have the backing of some of the wealthiest, smartest venture capitalists the Silicon Valley ever spawned, and they are using the already commoditized lithium ion batteries used in laptops, with extremely high energy densities, to power their 100% battery powered car. Phoenix Motorcars is interesting because they have an agreement with Altair Technologies, who claim they have a next-generation ”nano-titanate” lithium ion battery that has faster recharging times and greatly reduced problems with heat management. Could the automotive industry’s center of gravity be shifting from Detroit to California? [...]

  2. [...] pillerde; ağır metal, grafit ve diğer akülerde olan zehirli maddeler bulunmuyor. Piller nano titanat teknolojisiyle üretilmiş olduğundan ısısal değişimlerde de kararlı çalışabiliyor. [...]


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