The Graphene Battery: No longer a domesticated pet sitting at the foot of its Li-Ion Battery master? 

InvestorIntel: The Graphene Battery: No longer a domesticated pet sitting at the foot of its Li-ion Battery master?


Grafoid acquires battery manufacturer Braille Batteries – takes one step closer to the
graphene battery

By: Dr. Luc Duchesne

With the recent progress in the inclusion of graphene in batteries as material for anodes, cathodes or supercapacitors, it seems reasonable to think we should accept the new naming convention “graphene battery” to reflect the immense contribution of graphene in increasing charging power and reversible capacity.

Thus far graphene has played the secondary role of an additive to the lithium-ion battery by providing support by complementing the chemistry of anodes and cathodes. However, recent discoveries suggest that graphene is no longer a domesticated pet sitting at the foot of its master. Certain types of lithium-ion batteries, are in a league of their own, thanks to a new cohort of 405 from 153 patent filings reported by the World Intellectual property office (WIPO) since a year ago.

It is reasonable to ask the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI), two bodies in charge of battery nomenclature. Technical standard battery nomenclature describes dry cell batteries that have physical dimensions and electrical characteristics that are interchangeable between manufacturers. But the onus for the christening of the graphene battery rest with industry stakeholders.

Graphene batteries have to hit the market in a grand way for the new naming convention to gain traction. Integrating graphene into end products is one of the key success criteria for the emergence of graphene in the broad scale adoption of graphene into the marketplace, a hurdle that is common among leading edge technologies. Manufacturers tend to prefer to be second in line in the adoption of new technologies, regardless of their level of proof.

As far as Grafoid is concerned, we might as well be speaking of the graphene battery rather than the lithium-ion battery. And its recent acquisition of Braille Battery, Inc. might create the conditions for the new naming convention.

Braille Battery is a perfect play for a graphene manufacturer looking for market inroads. Braille is a global leader in the development, production and sales of ultralightweight lithium ion high performance batteries and seller of the world’s first environmentally sustainable AGM carbon fiber batteries for IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1 racing cars, motorcycles and batteries for the marine industry.

There are two main technical features defining rechargeable batteries: the quantity of energy they store (charging capacity) and the number of times a battery can be drained of power and then recharged (reversible capacity).

Scientists claim that: “Graphene has only recently been implemented as an electron conducting additive for lithium ion battery cathode materials. Graphene is found to significantly improve cathode electrochemical performance.”

The properties of graphene, especially its surface area per weight unit makes it an especially appealing molecule for anodes and cathodes—the rods in batteries through which current circulates.

There is also the reputation of lithium ion batteries to consider. In 2013 the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA (2013) Application of life-cycle assessment to nanoscale technology: Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. EPA 7440R-12-001] published a damning report on the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries, producing data that shows that the technology might be promising but still carried a hefty environmental footprint. Here again graphene may tip the balance because of its better environmental footprint, something of significance for Grafoid because of the clean environmental footprint of MesoGraf.