The Quest for the Next Gen: Metal Fluoride Cathodes

July 11, 2014 – Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine – The current generation of lithium-ion battery materials is quickly approaching its theoretical limit.  In commercial layered oxide cathodes, like the popular nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), there is only one lithium ion for every metal.  So, the most energy you could possibly store with those materials is one full lithium in and out, or about 300 mAh per gram of cathode.  Today’s commercially available cells are cycling about 0.6 to 0.7 lithium ions per metal, and the market is steadily increasing that ratio by using more nickel- and manganese-rich compositions.  Industry insiders report seeing several materials that are closer to 0.8 to 0.9 lithium ions per metal, and the lithium-rich NMC materials -pioneered by Argonne National Laboratory – are basically cycling the full amount of lithium. In other words, the headroom for improvement is quickly dropping.

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John McGuinness destroys TT Zero record at 117.366 mph

June 5, 2014, – Tuesday morning on the Isle of Man, John McGuinness didn’t merely raise the bar by circling the 37.7-mile Snaefell Mountain Course in 19:17.3 minutes at an average of 117.366 miles per hour during the running of the annual TT Zero. Despite an ailing wrist, he snatched the bar from its moorings and threw it javelin-like into the chilly Irish Sea, adding an additional 7.691 mph to last year’s record speed and becoming the first to complete an electric race lap in under 20 minutes. His Mugen team mate Bruce Anstey, also aboard an improved Shinden San – which sport drivetrain components from Mission Motors, we hasten to add – came in second with a more-than-respectable 115.048 mph average speed.

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VanDyne SuperTurbo raises $15 million

VanDyneApril 14, 2014, Northern Colorado Business Report – VanDyne SuperTurbo Inc. has completed a Series C equity financing round of $15 million, which it plans to invest in the final phase of commercialization of its SuperTurbo technology.

Loveland-based VanDyne makes a truck-engine management system called the SuperTurbo, which improves fuel economy and reduces soot emissions. The technology integrates the functions of supercharging and turbocharging into a single device.

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Lithium Producer Chases Tesla’s Bold Battery Plan

Simbol MaterialsMarch 16, 2014, New York Times -Last month, Tesla Motors, the maker of high-end electric cars, announced plans to open the world’s largest battery plant in 2017. The goal is to overcome what it calls the biggest obstacle to meeting increased demand for its vehicles: a reliable supply of the advanced batteries that power them.

To accomplish that, Tesla will need plenty of battery-grade lithium. That’s where Simbol Materials comes in.

Simbol, based in Pleasanton, Calif., is preparing to break ground on its own commercial plant in August, which would put it on track to start production around the same time Tesla’s plant is scheduled to open. The Simbol plant will be the first to use a unique process to extract lithium from a novel source: the waste from geothermal power plants.

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Former CEO of GM China Group Phil Murtaugh joins Pinnacle Engines board; first engines launch in Asia this year

Pinnacle EnginesJanuary 29, 2014, Green Car Congress – Pinnacle Engines, developer of a highly efficient 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post), named Phil Murtaugh as the newest member of its board of directors. With previous professional experience as CEO of Asian Operations for Chrysler Group and the CEO of General Motors China Group, Murtaugh provides keen insight into Pinnacle’s planned expansion in 2014, focused heavily on Asian markets.

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Colorado algae company Solix BioSystems gets new leader

Solix BiofuelsJanuary 17, 2014, Denver Business Journal – Solix BioSystems Inc., a startup that’s specialized in growing algae to produce products such as fuel, has appointed Austin Maguire its president and CEO.

Maguire replaces former Solix CEO Joel Butler, who remains at Solix as its Chief Strategic Alliance Officer, the Fort Collins-based company said Thursday.

Solix, founded in 2006, also announced it’s shifting its effort to focus on commercialization and expanding its operations to meet demand for algae-based products in the nutrition, personal care, and aquaculture markets.

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Pinnacle’s opposed-piston scooter engine can meet NOx target with lean operation and ignition delay; little fuel economy hit

Pinnacle EnginesNovember 1, 2013,  Green Car Congress – In a paper presented at the recent Small Engine Technology Conference organized by JSAE and SAE International, Michael (Tony) Willcox from Pinnacle Engines reported that the 110cc version of the 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post) can use lean operation and ignition delay to meet Euro 4 NOx emission targets without aftertreatment and with only a negligible impact (< 1.5%) on the fuel consumption benefits of the engine (about 25-27% better than a comparable conventional engine in the relevant drivecycle).

Further, Pinnacle noted, recently developed hardware designed for additional lean limit extension is under test. The new hardware is anticipated to leave margin with Euro 5/6 NOx regulations using an oxidation-only catalyst for aftertreatment.

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Wildcat Discovery Technologies Selected for $1 Million DOE Vehicle Technologies Grant Award

September 4, 2013, – Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a technology company that uses proprietary high throughput methods to rapidly develop improved battery materials, announced today that the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has awarded Wildcat a $999,778 grant under the 2013 Vehicle Technologies Program Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000793.

“Wildcat is honored to receive this endorsement from the Department of Energy.  We look forward to working on this exciting initiative”, said Mark Gresser, Wildcat’s CEO.  “Electrolyte screening is a perfect fit for Wildcat’s accelerated development methods and has quickly become an important part of our business.  Our new ability to monitor in-situ gas evolution in our high throughput cells will be particularly useful on this project.”

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Wild about Cathode Materials

July 12, 2013, Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine – We first told you about Wildcat Discovery Technologies back in the October/November 2012 issue of Charged. It is a venture-backed start-up in Southern California that has developed proprietary methods for rapidly synthesizing energy-storage materials. The company boasts that one of its busy scientists can produce 400 to 500 different battery materials at the same time – that’s in the neighborhood of 100 times faster than standard labs.

Wildcat shares its talents with many material companies and cell manufactures under various collaborative projects, most of which it won’t discuss. Some of the few partnerships that have been made public include a multi-year deal struck in September with the Japanese battery separator giant Asahi Kasei and a new research contract announced in January with the international powerhouse 3M.

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The Phoenix rises: Mission R returns, and now it’s road legal

June 4, 2013, – San Francisco-based Mission Motorcycles has unveiled two brand-new electric bikes which it bills as the most advanced on the market: the Mission RS and Mission R. The track- and road-ready RS is produced in an ultra-limited edition of 40, but the R will be manufactured in larger quantities at a cheaper price, while still retaining the key specs of its edgier sibling. However, if the name Mission R seems familiar, well that’s because it is …

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