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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Much like wind turbines and recycling bins, the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) is symbolic of the commitment towards reducing the global carbon footprint. Cameron Leslie, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer at Xodus-Academy, reports on developments in EV battery technology.
As governments across the world outline plans to prohibit the sale of combustion vehicles within the next 10–20 years, the transition from engine to motor is going to be fast-tracked. The UK government estimates that CO2 emissions from standard gasoline family cars ranges between 179–207 g/km driven. It is therefore unsurprising that road travel accounts for 15% of global CO2 emissions.
The need for electricity-fuelled vehicles to curtail harmful emissions is evident, but there remains one key hurdle which is slowing progression – batteries. More specifically, how can battery technology be optimised to create a sustainable, cost-effective, safe and high-performance product? These are the principal factors being pursued to further increase the commercial appeal and appetite for EVs.
The Li-ion battery
Latest estimates from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggest that EVs account for approximately 0.7% of the total light-duty vehicles worldwide. The overwhelming majority of these vehicles use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries to store their energy. Despite being a relatively new technology, only becoming commercialised in 1991, the Li-ion battery has become ubiquitous in EV application, brushing aside its inferior predecessor, the lead-acid battery.